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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Lies and Deceit; Manipulation

Your parents always told you not to lie. Pinocchio scared you into telling the truth because otherwise your nose might grow suggestively. But is lying really all that bad? You can't very well tell...

Warfare

"Eliminate them" (4.3). By using clinical terms like "eliminate" in The Prince, instead of more straightforward and maybe disturbing words like "murder," "kill," or "massacre," Machiavelli makes ki...

Violence

When you think of violence, you probably think of wars and fights and sad stuff. Okay, yeah, that happens. But in The Prince, violence is a handy-dandy thing. You can use it to stop other violence...

Respect and Reputation

Reputation. Normally you want it clean, unmarked, pure as the driven snow. But in The Prince, Machiavelli says fuggedaboutit . Yeah, it's nice to have a good reputation, but it's not worth losing s...

Strength and Skill

Virtù: that's the Italian word that Machiavelli keeps using when talking about strength or skill. But what exactly does it mean? Traditionally, something along the lines of having strength, skill,...

Politics

The most important thing in all of The Prince is the stability of the state. Nothing else matters. Machiavelli doesn't care about being "nice" or "good" or moral in this arena. Actually, he was the...

Morality and Ethics

It's nice to be nice, right? Eh. Sort of. In the world of The Prince, it's nice to be seen as a nice. Really, that's probably all anyone wants. Being moral can even get you in trouble sometimes, so...

Fear

A wise little green man once said, "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." We tend to agree with Yoda, but Jedi must operate on diffe...

Fortune

Fortune and virtù go hand in hand so much in The Prince that the two words pop up almost equally in each other's theme sections. They're around each other all the time, but what is their relations...
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