Virtù

1319 words, 6 pages

Intro Sample...


When one hears virtue, the ideas that come to mind are morality and righteousness. In essence, these are conventional Christian values that have become widely known today. However, in the context of giving advice to would-be rulers, Machiavelli defines the concept of virtue as virtù—one’s own strength and courage to do whatever is necessary to achieve a goal, even if the act was immoral. He describes virtù as a quality vital for a prince; a prince can be ruthless as long as his actions are directed towards his goals and keep him in power. According to Machiavelli’s interpretation, one must follow in the footsteps of previous great men in order to guarantee at least a small sense of virtù. He also talks about fortune, or fate and luck,... View More »

Body Sample...


Machiavelli initially says that men should be like past excellent men, but now supplements his presupposition by saying men should be like archers. Using archers as a way to show men how to aim for greater virtù, Machiavelli adds to the definition.
Virtù and fortune are opposing yet complementary concepts. A prince realizes fortune through inheritance or luck. However, fortune can bring failure, not just success. Virtù is using one’s own strength, bravery, and cruelty to become a prince and gain what comes along with being a prince. When comparing virtù and fortune, Machiavelli finds that “[…] the one or the other of these two things in part mitigates many difficulties; nonetheless, he who has relied less on fortune has kept more of what he has acquired” (55). Machiavelli illustrates that it is best suited for princes to rely more heavily on virtù with regard to keeping what the prince has achieved. One that relies on more on virtù encounters many obstacles on the road to becoming a prince and gaining principalities. This experience is rewarding, and can be used later on when a problem arises and a prince needs to keep what is his. He is able to keep most of what he has. A prince’s position and principalities gained through fortune means the prince traveled an easy path. However, this can hurt the prince due to the fact that the prince was not hardened by virtù and a challenging experience. Therefore, princes who rely more on fortune lose more than prince’s who rely more on virtù. Machiavelli’s explanation of virtù transitions from illustrating to be like others to self ...

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