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The Prince

The Prince

by Niccolò Machiavelli

Fear Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

All the same, while a ruler can't expect to inspire love when making himself feared, he must avoid arousing hatred. Actually, being feared is perfectly compatible with not being hated. And a ruler won't be hated if he keeps his hands off his subjects' property and their women. (17.6)

This is seems like a no-brainer to us, but remember that a lot of pillaging and ransacking was going on at the time, and it wasn't as funny as they make it look in those Pirates of the Caribbean movies. More Game of Thrones than honorable pirates.

Quote #8

Going back, then, to the question of being feared or loved, my conclusion is that since people decide for themselves whether to love a ruler or not, while it's the ruler who decides whether they're going to fear him, a sensible man will base his power on what he controls, not on what others have freedom to choose. But he must take care, as I said, that people don't come to hate him. (17.9)

Nothing new here. Machiavelli keeps telling us the same stuff over and over. Do you think he's afraid we won't understand it, or is this such radical advice that he feels like he really needs to drive it home?

Quote #9

You'll be held in contempt, on the other hand, if you're seen as changeable, superficial, effeminate, fearful or indecisive. So a ruler must avoid those qualities like so many stumbling blocks. (19.1)

It's interesting that a ruler only wants to inspire fear, not seem fearful. Does the value of fear change based on who is doing the fearing? Also about those bad qualities? Remember that being "effeminate," i.e. like a woman, is one of the worst things you could ever do. Ah, sexism.

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