© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Prince

The Prince

by Niccolò Machiavelli

The Prince Analysis

Literary Devices in The Prince

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

If you've ever been to a Renaissance Festival, you'll know exactly what we are talking about. Actually, you won't. What time period do fairies, mermaids, and meat-on-a-stick come from anyway?Minor...

Narrator Point of View

Machiavelli isn't pulling any Jedi mind tricks on us with this one. The narration of The Prince is pretty straightforward. He's not really telling us a story, but instructing us. Sure, we have some...

Genre

Well, it's certainly not the next great American novel. It's not any kind of novel, actually. The Prince is a treatise, which is just a dressy way to say "really long discussion of an idea." Since...

Tone

Misanthropic (i.e. Man-hating)Have you noticed that Machiavelli seems to think that most people are idiots? Not us, because we're awesome, but you know, normal people. The way that Machiavelli talk...

Writing Style

We're sorry to come at you with these big words that mean nearly the same thing, when we could have used simple words like "brief," or "concise," but that's just not nearly as fun and you'll thank...

What's Up With the Title?

Machiavelli's title is about as generic as can be, but it still needs some explaining. When the book first circulated in Italy around 1513, it was titled De Principatibus, or About Principalities....

What's Up With the Epigraph?

The book was originally dedicated to Giuliano de Medici, who took Florence when the Medicis returned in 1512. Unfortunately, Giuliano died just four years later, so Machiavelli decided to switch it...

What's Up With the Ending?

Virtue against furyShall take up arms; and the fight be short; For ancient valourIs not dead in Italian hearts. (26.8)Machiavelli's little book ends with these four lines from Petrarch's famous Can...

Tough-o-Meter

Don't get scared. We have a perfectly good reason for giving The Prince such a high toughness rating. It's not that we wanted to give it a high number, but when we stacked everything on the tough-o...

Trivia

After The Prince was published, Machiavelli became so hated that he had a lot of "colorful" nicknames including the Devil's partner in crime and Murderous Machiavel.In case you doubted that the Med...

Steaminess Rating

Nada. Zip. Zero. Machiavelli even tells rulers to keep their hands to themselves, so there is no steaminess in The Prince at all.

Allusions

Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy (2.1)Justin (6.8)Pope Leo X (11.5)Tacitus, Annals (13.8)Xenophon, Life of Cyrus (14.5)Virgil, Aeneid (17.1)Livy (26.3)Petrarch (26.7) Francesc...

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement