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The Prince

The Prince

by Niccolò Machiavelli

Analysis: Narrator Point of View

Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

First Person (Peripheral Narrator)

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 "characters," but Machiavelli doesn't tell us about their feelings, thoughts, or emotions, and we're pretty sure he doesn't even care about that sort of stuff. All that matters is what these guys do. And that's what Machiavelli tells us about. This might be a self-help book, but Chicken Soup for the Soul it isn't.

Machiavelli's choice of point of view makes sense for the type of work that he is writing. He refers to himself as "I" rather than Machiavelli, and all of his advice is addressed directly to us. There are only two parts in the book where Machiavelli seems to stop instructing and instead tries to have a conversation with a very specific leader: the dedication and the last chapter. Here, Machiavelli talks directly to Lorenzo de' Medici, begging him to acknowledge his wisdom or unite Italy.

Overall, we feel like Machiavelli's point of view puts him right over our shoulder while we're watching some kind of ancient, warlike, Greatest Strategies of All Time marathon on TLC. He's pointing out all the little details, and we are both kind of annoyed and genuinely interested in what he is saying. Now, if we could only find that remote…

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