Machiavellianism: Prestigious Honour


“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”

Niccolò Machiavelli

Honouring your Word


It is admirable by everyone to frankly honour your word in the absence of devious scheming. However, immediate experience demonstrates that rulers who reached great heights continually conveyed their promise delicately and deceived men with their proficiency in deceit and who defeated those men who complied with upright morals. According to Niccolò Machiavelli, it is pivotal to realize that men have two methods of battling; by ‘law’ or ‘force’. The former is inherent in men, the latter in monsters. Frequently, the former manifests as insufficient and thus a man requires resort to the latter. A ruler, then, must employ both monster and man to triumph and since it is expected of him to consolidate both, he studies both the fox and lion. On the one hand, the lion is vulnerable to snares and on the other, the fox is vulnerable to wolves. Consequently, the ruler must be a fox to identify tricks and a lion to terrify wolves. A ruler who plainly behaves like a lion is ignorant and endangered by his foolishness. Conversely, a wise ruler will not honour his word if it weakens his position and the grounds for his promise have dissolved. 

“You must understand, therefore, that there are two ways of fighting: by law or by force. The first way is natural to men, and the second to beasts. But as the first way often proves inadequate one must needs have recourse to the second. So a prince must understand how to make a nice use of the beast and the man.” – Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

If men were righteous, this principle would prove unreasonable but since men are miserable and faithless, your word is not of value to them and thus need not be kept. As a matter of fact, a ruler never lacks valid pretexts to influence and falsify his conviction. Those men in history who perfectly emulated the fox reaped the most benefits. To be a shrewd liar and exploiter, you must understand how to falsify and tint your deeds. The exploiter, in truth, will never run out of sufferers willing to be deceived since men are simply situational beings whose vulnerability wavers. Consequently, a ruler is not demanded to possess all the alluded attributes but he must seem to possess them. Additionally, if he possessed said traits and constantly conducted himself duly, they will prove damaging but if he merely seems to possess them, they will be of good use. The ruler is pitying, honourable, generous, open and pious; he should seem to be and in fact be. Nonetheless, his adaptable temperament should allow him to be the inverse if it is required of him. 

A ruler, particularly a novel one, is unable to notice the things that entrust men with a good name for uprightness since upholding his province frequently coerces him to behave in opposition with lawful trust, goodwill, benevolence and divinity. For that reason, a ruler must possess a pliable character that differs conditional on chance and situation – the leader should not stray from all that is virtuous within the realms of possibility but should know how to impose vice when obligatory. So, a leader should be heedful to avoid remarks that don’t appear to be incited by the formerly alluded characteristics – compassion, moral trust, integrity, generosity and divinity; most importantly, the endmost quality of devout faith. Generally, people form an opinion through observation since every person is free and unencumbered to scrutinize. But, not many are able to draw close to who you actually are. As Machiavelli remarked, “Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.” Looks and outcomes are what influence the mediocre, for there is short scope for the minority when the majority are securely preserved. 

Winning Honour

An impressive display of mastery and grand operations are what earn the ruler the most status. If one reads the biography of Ferdinand of Aragon, a former king of Spain, you will discover that all his accomplishments were splendid and masterly, some even unprecedented. He began his monarchy by assailing Granada – this operation was his footing for power. In the first place, he undertook the operation alertly and boldly; employing the noblemen of Castile’s vigour, who were attentive to conflict and had no intention in generating misfortune to their homeland. Due to his obliviousness of what was transpiring, Ferdinand of Aragon’s influence and status overpowered them. Furthermore, he preserved and carried his armies through the people and house of prayer’s capital. He laid a firm basis for his reputable army through the resources of an extended battle and secured himself eminence and fame in the unfolding. Besides, to tackle more prominent operations through wielding religion, he changed direction to sanctimonious employment of brutality; hunting down the Moriscos and disposing of their dominion – conceivably the most noticeably distressing and dreadful business. Employing the same religious veil, he assailed Africa; beginning his operation in Italy. In this way, Ferdinand of Aragon finalized and organized brilliant ventures which left citizens in both tension and marvel. 

“Nothing brings a prince more prestige than great campaigns and striking demonstrations of his personal abilities” – Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

Impressive feats of capability can be profitable for a leader, in a competition where something outstanding is fulfilled, whether for virtue or vice, recompense or penalty should be imposed on the person to get everyone conversing. Chiefly, a leader should aspire and strive in all his efforts to acquire a great man’s stature for his masterful capacity. In addition, a ruler acquires status for proving a genuine friend or foe – for divulging himself without the slightest arrangement in favouritism of one side in opposition to another. Such an approach is superior to impartiality, for if your adjoining authorities clash and one side triumphs, you’re jeopardized. No matter what, it will continually be useful to assert yourself and pursue the spirited battle. First of all, you will incessantly be in the power of the subjugator if you do not announce yourself, and also to the gratification of the defeated. Moreover, no rationale or method will serve as a barrier to your shelter and preservation. The subjugator is not looking for irresolute traitors who will betray him in times of misfortune and the defeated will renounce you as a consequence of your reluctance to unite with him in battle. On every occasion, your impartiality will be appealed by your opposer and your armed support will be appealed by your friend. As a matter of fact, indecisive leaders generally conform to impartiality as a means to flee menace and commonly meet with failure. 

Despite that, when you brazenly announce your backing for one side and it triumphs, though the conqueror is strong and at your mercy, you have put him under an obligated duty, assigning himself to an amicable connection with you – in this situation, men are not immoral to the point of treating you with thankless despotism. In contrast, a beaten associate will protect you and assist you however possible, and your linkage in the future can improve for the betterment of both of you. 

Unless mandatory, a ruler should shun enlisting into belligerent associations with people who are stronger than he. For the reason that you will come out a convict if you are the conquerors. Thus, rulers should, to the best of their ability, avoid being defenceless and in the power of others. Escaping a threat often leads you to another. Wisdom, then, is your ability to evaluate the essence of a threat and then acceding to the inferior vice. A superior ruler expresses his admiration for aptitude, conferring encouragement to men who are capable and acclaiming those who outshine in their career. Moreover, he supports and comforts his citizens so they can continue to lead their lives harmoniously, whatever their line of work may be. Finally, the ruler should readily recompense those men who aspire to carry out initiatives that will grow the city’s affluence and success.


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