Plato vs. Machiavelli

Platovs. Machiavelli

Platoand Machiavelli are two of the most respected thinkers of ourgeneration. Their contribution to the various aspects of the societyhas been highly acknowledged. Both advocated for equal justice in thesociety. As usual, they both rose to prominence in the Renaissanceperiod. This period produced some of the most accomplishedphilosophers whose theories have transformed the dynamics of ourmodern society. Therefore, this paper will offer an examination ofthe principles of justice in the two books TheRepublicof Plato and ThePrinceby Machiavelli.

Thecontent of the books tackles justice at different levels this I findwhen in the Republicjusticeis a virtue inherent while in thePrince itis not. The proposal that truth is natural is entirely a foreignprinciple in theprincebecause in thePrincethe whole purpose of the book is wiped out if it so. This theme runsall through the book as Socrates extols it while Machiavelli promotesrelativism in the same theme. The glaring difference is thatMachiavelli is placing self above all as he addresses Lorenzo deMedici as the all-important individual. What is similar in these twobooks is how the overriding theme is proved at all cost despite withSocrates in book ten narrating a myth that is consonant with histheme. Lorenzo de Medici is urged that justice is expendable as longas his overall objective to retain political power justifies themeans. The theme that truth is inherent in every individual as parSocrates to Lorenzo de Medici it is only in the one who rules. Theway to exercise this judgment is what makes apparent the title of thebooks as Republicdenotes people while theprincedenotes a class apart.

Whenyou look at the meanings adopted in both books, it is interesting toobserve that the Republicis presented in question and answer form while theprinceis in the form of a letter. The dialog in the Republicis two-sided aptly portraying justice verbally while in thePrinceit is one-sided describing the kind of theme throughout the book.This is apparent as the narrative in both books themes runs alongthese lines without diversion. It is clear from the first paragraphwhat is expected in both books and what the reader discovers ismerely a justification for the same. The clarity in addressing thetheme is commendable in both books as words are precisely placed toaugment the same. Machiavelli discusses Lorenzo de Medici as themagnificent, a title belonging to his grandfather to cement the ideathat he is born to impart justice.

Inboth books, there is the acknowledgment of motivation, and that iswhere the similarity ends. In the last chapter of hisbook,Machiavelli admits his motivation for writing the book is to bereinstated to his political office. This selfish motivation isapparent because he first wrote to ThePrinceto Giulianode Medici,who passed on in 1516 then he changed his focus to Lorenzo de Medici.Personally, I find that Machiavelli selfish motive is being imbued toLorenzo de Medici for selfish gain. The open way he goes about it isabrasive, however it gets the job done. In the Republic,motivation is divided into three parts, which are addressedindividually while the virtuous one is recommended. This is tied tothe theme of justice so that the kind of society propagated isachievable. What I find interesting is how the three classificationof motivation fits theprinceinto the republicbecause in thePrincemotivation is selfish hence imperfect in theRepublic.Socrates also exhibits the ruthlessness Machiavelli shows in hispursuant in his following of the theme in the government.

Likemost theorists, Machiavelli was swayed by the initial Greek thinkerssuch as Plato. Nevertheless, in most cases he appeared to be opposingPlatonic viewpoint. While Plato believed in the essence of justice inleadership, Machiavelli believed in leaders leading by moral virtuehe believed in “virtu.” This entailed that whatever was best forthe State was virtu. According to Monarch Notes on TheRepublic: The simple notion denoted to is the opinion that ethics andpolitics are equal, or at least co-terminus (overlying in relevantfeatures). There was no dissimilarity between secluded life andcommunal life, as there is nowadays. There was no such conception asthe &quotinvasion of privacy,&quot maybe since no Athenian sensedthat he had a sequestered life that was to be isolated from his/hercommunity.

Platodisputes the type of leader, who rules exclusively by force in TheRepublic.The disagreement opinionated as a justification for Machiavelliantheories: In performing a skill, we do not wish to go past, butmerely to hit the precise point. Virtue is a type of power, and itnecessitates a knowledge of what is the accurate degree. The unfairman, as a result, is not exercising plenty of a skill, is he? Nor isthe oppressor doing a considerable job at governing. One cannotassert to play a greater F-sharp than anybody else – since we allrecognize that F-sharp is the same at all times, and there will neverbe a greater or inferior F-sharp. It is the impartial man whodistinguishes the appropriate note it is the unreasonable man whosurpasses it and drives out of harmony in his life. Therefore, thefool plays prejudice that rescinds persons, as it rescinds states.(Plato, The Republic. 349E, P. 35-36)

&nbsp Despitethe fact, Machiavelli is hugely subjective to the Latin and Greekbenchmarks, and through the Bible, he takes a serious attitude indealing with morality issues. A Prince`s main responsibility is theprotection of his state and the guard of his people. &quotA Prince,therefore, should have no care or thought but for war, and theregulations and training it requires, and should apply himselfexclusively to this as his peculiar province for war is the sole artlooked for in one who rules&quot (Machiavelli, P. 70). This is notoutlying from what is sought in Pro-republic civilization.Machiavelli trusts a good leader`s foremost concern is to preservehis republic first. According to Smith:

Machiavellistates that leaders ought to be real, maintain promises, and so on.When they do so, they will not hurt the country. They should appearto have the traditional virtues. But since the goal of the rule is tooutwit and protect the country, he never shy from perform wrong whenthe he is mandated by the state to do so. Hence, the historicalprinciple of public decency, which is an ethical code applying tokings and their people the same, is crucially changed inMachiavelli`s theory of virtu`, which requires leaders of countriesand can be at difference with moral virtue. (Smith)

&nbspMachiavelli`sidea of virtu` is not of moral character then, but of what is best orthe useful needs of the country. For Machiavelli virtu overshadowsvirtue in periods of disasters while Plato trusts a fair leader mustact equally all the time. Salmon says: Machiavelli deeply evaluatesthe critical features of leaders who have succeeded, distinguishing,for instance, between principles of chastisement proper for soldierlycampaigns and monarchs when they are not imposing commands over theirarmies. Likewise, when Machiavelli deliberates the notions ofunkindness and compassion, he presents cases to demonstrate thatactions that might seem at first peep to be harsh are compassionatein the conditions, and the other way round.

Machiavelliis guileless, and in many ways endorses ferocity, if it validates theconclusions to a means, &quotvirtu&quot. Conversely, in so doing,he also leaks Monarchy as a deception and proposes a way ofunraveling ethics or faith from politics. Politics is a harsh game,and occasionally political figures must fib in order to safeguard theuseful asset. Machiavelli cautions that complete uprightness is notconstantly what a good Prince desires to hear but is a kind ofobsequiousness that should be ignored. He writes:

Forthere is no way to guard against flattery but by letting it be seenthat you take no offense in hearing the truth: but when everyone isfree to tell you the truth, respect falls short. Wherefore a prudentPrince should follow a middle course, by choosing certain discreetmen from among his subjects, and allowing them alone free leave tospeak their minds on any matter on which he asks their opinion, andfor none other. But he ought to ask their opinion on everything, andafter hearing what they have to say, should reflect and judge forhimself. (Machiavelli).

Machiavellicritically esteems the works of Plato and other doctrinaires.&nbspHeemploys the provisional designs of argumentation advanced by theEnduring theorists. He regularly uses the quandary form since this isvaluable for bestowing alternate sequences of deeds along with theircosts. He expertly evades being caught in deceitful dilemmas.However, For instance, when bearing in mind whether it is healthierto be adored or dreaded, he first observes that it is vital thoughdifficult–to be equally loved and dreaded. Plato supposed that themonarch without moral quality was undue. A right ruler was justnotwithstanding of the situations. By doing malevolent to thosewicked men, are we not toting to their wickedness, making themcorrupt? It follows that fairness includes the real creation of evil.He stated that:

Noart can deliberately aim at a negative result. The death of a patientis not a triumph of medicine but a failure. The creation of evil isnot an accomplishment of justice, but a failure of justice. (335 D,P. 15-16)

Consequently,according to Plato, an impartial leader should not pursue war sincewar is unreasonable. War is criminal, and &quotThe conception ofevil is not a triumph of justice, but a miscarriage of justice.&quotFor Plato, an impartial ruler, a perfect king would be fair. He doesspeak of war and thinks the State should have a waiting Defense forceof skilled combatants in order to guard the Nation. Machiavelliaccept as true that the government subsists to make conflict, and arespectable ruler is present for only one resolve to create war, thisis his only apprehension.

Machiavelliand Plato exist in two unrelated eras. In Plato`s epoch,man-centered philosophy on ultimate standards and values. They wereconcerned with how things ought to be, not the state they were inpresently. If we all act in this manner, we will have a seamlesssociety.&nbspMachiavelli, nevertheless, was a pragmatist. He wasworried about how things were in authenticity, not how they ought tobe if the world was impeccable. He was significantly swayed by hisletdowns in the community. He had assisted as leader of the 2ndChancery of the Florentine state but was terminated after its fall in1512. The Medici household was again reigning over Florence, and oneof them also had the influence of the papal seat in Rome. The Princewas an endeavor to avert from those letdowns being frequent in theupcoming period. Machiavelli tried fruitlessly to use this discourseto achieve an advice-giving nomination either to the court of theDuke or the papacy. He was not troubled with decency if it doomed theruin and downfall of his state


Bloom,Allan David, ed.&nbspTheRepublic of Plato.Basic Books, 1991.

Gilbert,Felix. &quotThe humanist concept of the Prince and The Prince ofMachiavelli.&quot&nbspTheJournal of Modern History&nbsp11.4(1939): 449-483.

Machiavelli,Niccolò.&nbspTheprince.University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Plato,Socrates Vs.&nbspPlato:The Republic.Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Smith,Bruce James.&nbspPoliticsand remembrance: Republican themes in Machiavelli, Burke, and

Tocqueville.Princeton University Press, 2014.