Founder of political sciences of the 15th century, Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, was an Italian born writer, philosopher, and politician; who through the strength of his pen and intellect was able to give the world a new perspective of the never dieing entity, love and hope. As a man of Renaissance, while holding a high political position, his writings are also a combination of his deep political thought and insight. He is most famous for his short novel, The Prince, which is his realistic approach towards the political discourse of that time period, exhibiting the advance towards power.
The Prince, originally written in 1513 (however got published in 1532), is known as a political treatise, for its formal exposition of the ideology of political affairs. It is usually alluded to being called as a piece of act which represents the word Machiavellian, which refers to the playing politics in a ruthless way in order to retain power and position; moreover many critics have also states the story to be satire. The novel is a form of guide for a ruling or an expected prince, of how he can attain his throne, and then make sure that he remains in power and control.
The idea of attaining the power is placed as crucial and primary to all, even where principality comes secondary to its approach, which he does so by dictating old examples of rulers, and making his own generalizations and hypothesizes upon them. According to Machiavelli, the first moral of ruling is to have an economically and politically stable country, and then it is upon the ruler as to how he would protect it even if the ways used by him were cruel, they remained justifiable as long as they kept her power sustained.
The main purpose of the book was to explain Machiavellis ability and knowledge in politics, not promoting love and prosperity between powers, but rather working by conquering peoples fear and force. There are various themes discussed by the author in the book such as military and defense, which are the prerequisites of a firm state, having a fortified and well protected area, with no help being taken from allies as that would be a burden of favor, and stand brave in the battlefield.
The book quite rigidity states that attributes such as mercy, religiousness, and principality, are good virtues too possess, but are not for a prince to adapt, as he at times has to work against them in order to defend his land. Also that a prince is better at being known as a miser than as a generous ruler, as it would weaken his economic status as well as bring grief upon people with larger taxes, thus having a bad reputation would be better than rather ending up with nothing. In answering to the idea of love and fear Machiavelli states that it would be best to be both loved and feared.
But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved. (Machiavelli, Chapter 17, pp 60) He believes that commitments made under fear, are always kept firm; while a prince should also be careful that he is not feared to the point of hatred. Creating fear within the commandment of an army is necessary in order to gain their respect, and it should be brought upon the garrison even if the prince has to turn towards cruelty.
Through the book the author emphasizes the fact that the only power which kept a prince from winning over his land and also his people is actually his ability to rule, rather than his fortune. He dictates the examples of Hannibal and Scipio Africanus; Hannibal who maintained a strong fear throughout his army, which consisted of soldiers of various races, and it was this fear of his which kept the army sturdy and united through out his reign; while Scipio, no matter had great abilities but is famous for the mutinies and trouble he had to face from the side of his own army.
Virtue for Machiavelli did not carry a moral tone but it was rather based upon skill, courage, physical and mental capacity. However, in chapter of 8 of his book, the author mentions that no matter cruelty is important for governance but it should be properly utilized to attain a goal, but if it is made repetitive and arouses constant fear amongst the citizens then the prince does not contain any ability.
It is not necessary for him to be loved, but he should be close enough to his people that he is not even hated, and thus requires both wisdom and courage; and above that the peripheral point should be established by which the prince is feared but not hated. And who could understand the complexities and the queries of life in a more powerful than the searcher of the nature, Plato, one of the greatest Greek philosophers.
Born in 427 BC in Athens, Plato was the student of Socrates, and had his theories as an explanation and an elaboration of those presented by his master. Most of his writings are found in the form of a dialogue between him and Socrates, discussing numerous fascinating topics. Gorgias, is one of the most famous dialogues written by Plato, in which he defines a mans virtuously right and proper nature. (Plato, 1994) It is believed to be a transitional dialogue, in which Plato represents Socrates teachings towards him in an indirect manner.
This dialogue is seen to be carried out between Socrates, Gorgias and Callicles who are both rhetoricians, Pollus and Chaerephon who are both philosophy students; and the dialogue begins from Socrates side to prove the rhetoricians for being only people of sheer words. This dialogue is famous for the themes which it carries such as that of morality, philosophy and spirituality; forms into a debate between truth and falsehood. Socrates in his dialogue proving refutation explains that it is worse to inflict evil upon somebody rather than being an innocent victim of
it and the most, unhappy man of the world would be the one who doesnt meet his just punishment. While the best cure for an evil man would be when he meets his justice; paying for his sins. He believes that a wrong doer should be left on his own, his body to rot in the pain of his own guilt; and only with time when he realizes his guilt would his sins be forgiven and he move towards becoming a better and stronger person; no matter the rhetoricians disagree with his thought, as they believe that such treatment would be doing more evil than benefiting for good.
Socrates ends the dialogue by explaining that on the Day of Judgment, man would be scrutinized and judged naked so that there are no hindrances for what he truly is. He believes that the evil doers body would be brandished by their sins, and they would be identifiable. According to Socrates, in the dialogue a mans virtue should be his ultimate goal, which should be based upon principles, and truth; while those who tend to love their own self alone and indulge in self pampering, are the selfish ones, as their self gratification would never cease but would only continue to get bigger with hunger of power and indulgence.
Creating fear and causing pain to others is the greatest evil, as identified by Plato; and becomes the most significant theme of most of Platos writings because of the unjust and evil death of his teacher Socrates; which destroyed his vision of the truth and its enhancement in nature. The dialogue however, concludes by declaring virtue as the good life, which can only be attained via the compliance of principles and correct behavioral methods. Both the books Prince and Gorgias, believe in the achievement of power, not only to gain a greater control but also to satisfy and pamper ones own self; and agree to the fact that once in power.
An individual might stray from principality and truth for long term benefits seen at a larger scale; but should refrain from evil as it would create hatred as well as lead to gods in the life of Hereafter. However when Machiavelli describes the attainment of power as mans vital goal, Plato believes into its attainment but to a certain level alone could one sacrifice his principles to achieve it; after which he would be nothing but an evil dweller, increasing his part of sins.
Both the writings show the difference between the thought of a politician, who take s the world in more of a materialistic manner, and that of a philosopher who takes a deeper look into things and does not talk about an individual alone or his unitary life; but talks about all the third parties affected by his actions and his spiritual life which would also be affected by his balance of truth and falsehood. Compare and describe the relationship between sexuality and society in the authors read so far.
Writers since centuries have talked about how sexuality and society work together, complimenting each other, which evolve gradually with the society giving more leverage and promotion at an open arena to sexuality, as it grows wider and is able to compensate more liberal point of views openly. Don Juan, is a classic story which has been told and retold since centuries; its legendary tale being changed and evolved with the evolution of time, it has seen changes according to the prevailing circumstances and the notions of the writers who dwelled with its story line.
Don Juan, as announced by the Spanish or Don Giovanni as told by the Italians, is the tale of a social libertine, an individual who has given of all the norms and rights of the society, such a person who does not believe into the limits of religion or morality. The legend of Don Juan talks about such a person who indulges himself into the pleasure of seducing women and enjoys winning over them. One day, Don Juan meets the dead spirit of the father of a girl he has seduced; casually and not knowing it he invites him to his house for dinner.
In return to this compliment, the father invites Don Juan to his graveyard for dinner, when he accepts the invitation and extends his hand to the spirit, pulls him into the grave and takes him into the bottomless pit of hell, where he is to burn in the redemption for his unforgivable sins. The oldest version of Don Juan to be placed in writing is believed to be written by Tirso de Molina, by the name El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra.
Later a revised edition was written by Moliere, in 1665; who was also made to make continous ammendments by the critics, who took as a largely shameful act; and was not until 1185, that the orignal play was allowed to be acted without censorships. However, the society at that time failed to accept the play, as they found it too liberal and outspoken, which broke the barriers of religion and offended the prestiege of the king. Thus it laid down as least cost effective, and as the protagonist himself is portrayed as a catholic, thsu it further offends the teaches of the church by portraying them as hypocrates and evil doers.
On the other hand, the representation of Don Juan in that era represents how sexulaity was missed used even in those times, but hardly any writteen record is seen because of the fact that the rulers didnt want any such tales to be spoken of openly; theey were then brought under the case of adultery. Don Juan, also is the symbol of evil, a womanizer who cannot attain his forgiveness, he has sined so much in his life that even his good deeds are shadowed by his hypocrite nature.
Every action of his holds insincerity and cannot be forgiven, and when eventually it is symbolised that he has been taken into the hell, it shows that the world did not contain any less painful avenge for him; and his death brought peace to all the woman who had suffered because of his flimsy character. Therefore by the story of Don Juan, conceived in the early 17th century, it can be seen that sexuality was miss used even in that time period but the society perferred to keeep it hidden and secretive, burrying such evil facts and tales which spoke against the religious and moral norms of the ruling powers.
Evil of the society was thus only a hushed talk in those times. The Prince, a guide for the rulers of the world written by a government official of Florence, Italy, Niccolo Machiavelli, in the 16th Century; helps us know today of how gravely was the impact of politics and the attainment of power and prestige in the lives of people of that era.
As the book states different tips and ways in which a prince could govern his kingdom in thee most efficient way winning both his commandment upon army and his position. Machiavelli also believed that gaining love from his people was not the most important part of ruling; a prince could never be too generous and lenient with his folk; however it was of vital importance that he managed his fear upon them so that he would respect him and treats him with the power and gratitude that he deserves.
A ruler was not always successful through his inheritance or his economic strength; but he was turned into a symbol of esteem through his ability; which not only shined in his character but also was represented by the society which he ruled. Thus the prince held great responsibility for his own self and the lives of all those, whose protection was sworn onto him. To take even a deeper analysis into the lives of the people of the 16th century, we might take a look into the analysis of the book Leviathan, written by Thomas Hobbes in 1660.
After looking through the time via the perspectives of a story teller, and then a politician, we take into the account of the era through the notions formed by a political philosopher; this book did not only establish a political thought in the minds of thee people but was also significant enough in influencing and establishing the entire Western political philosophy and laying down the perspective for the social contract theory. The book was first written by Hobbes at the time of the English Civil War, where he saw chaos and trouble through out the society.
In such times Hobbes believed that the only thing which could keep the community together would be a strong unified governing system which would act as a central body in decision making, keeping away the evils of chaos and civil misbehavior. The theory represented by Hobbes believes that if man is left without a government to live in a free market, operated by no restrictions, then he lives the life of nature, whereby everything is free for anybody, which in the long run would lead to war, poverty, frustration and hatred.
To prevent this, a social contract needs to be established which would establish a civil society, and distribute the scarce resources in a much more efficient way. This is a form of a commonwealth, which would help establish a protected civil society. The book can be divided into four parts, whereas the one which represents the society and its relation to sexuality is book one, of Man. Chapter 6 of this book discusses the theme of the involuntary emotions which arise inside a human being, over which he holds no control, known as passions.
He describes these motions of man as animal instincts, categorizing them as vital, and voluntary. Vital being those which formulate the metabolism and are innate, while the later are those which man learns with the course of his life. He by this formulates the idea that human nature is actually a by product of his metabolism. His innate motions form desires known as endeavors, which raise love and hatred in man, which then form an aversion in a human being.
While some of these desires are born with man, while some re learnt so with time and experience, and it is then from these appetites and aversions that passions arise which are known to be specific to human nature, of which those which qualify to be his appetite are those things that he likes, while those which fall into his aversions formulate his hatred and are evil. Then Chapter 11 and 13 of the book describe how manners differ in human beings and how he would respond to his conditions of misery. Hobbes further here describes how power in man could be self created and that which is instrumental attained from his society.
However a man may differ from another due to his different manners which come from his ability to negotiate between power and fear; and it is through this knowledge that the society can in the end attain peace; when fear originates from ignorance and a persons lack of foreseeing the future. Hobbes then concludes this part of his book with the thesis that when a human being lives in a society without any social contract, at that time he is living in a state of nature, and when a society is bent into such a living then it is nothing more than just a flake of imagination having no true existence.
As Thomas Hobbes states: In such condition, there is no place for industry . . . no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation . . . no commodious Building; no instruments of moving . . . no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. (Chapter 13)
Fort, A. ,B. and Kates, H. , S. 1935 Don Juan or The Stone Death. Minute History of the Drama. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. p. 47. Retrieved on Nov 27, 2007 from. http://www. theatrehistory. com/french/donjuan001. html Hobbes, T. (1651) The Leviathan. London: Andrew Crooke. Chapter 13 Machiavelli, N. (1908). The Prince, (1513). ed. W. K. Marriott. London: J. M. Dent and Sons, Pp 60. Plato. (1994) Collected Dialogues. eds. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns. Princeton: Princeton University Press.