In this paper we take a look at Machiavelli who was a Realist thinker from medieval Italy. He
takes a look at how he stood out as a realism thinker and consider the historical as well as the
cultural context of the time and place he lived. We will also look at some practical examples of
some of his views and how it could still have meaning for us today.
I have chosen to look at Machiavelli for this assignment. Niccol? Machiavelli lived from the 3rd
of May 1469 to the 21st of June 1527 in Italy, during the Renaissance time period.
He was a
strong influencer of the society until his exile for having too progressive views in 1513. He held
positions as a politician, a respected historian, a diplomat to other cities and a thought-provoking
philosopher. He also wrote plays, poems and books over the course of his life, the most known
being The Prince (De Botton, 2014). The era he lived in is known as the Renaissance period,
this period was defined by the movement from the middle ages to the modernity.
This period was
the re-birth of the culture in many artistic ways, which then also shaped the future of capitalism
and banking. It was in this time that Machiavelli had a profound impact as his ideas shaped the
minds around the table who set principles in stone, some of which we still follow today (De
Botton, 2014). I chose Machiavelli because he was a man who provoked those around him to
think different about life, which lead them to establish concepts, laws, rules and guidelines we
still use today! He truly was a remarkable man.
A lot of Machiavellis concepts and views were seen as negative, immoral and inappropriate for
their time. Some of his beliefs were: (Levin-Areddy, 2018).
Do everything and anything to achieve what you must
The end justified the means
A leader rather be feared than loved
To reach a goal you need a method, but in order to fully reach that goal, it needs to be a
He became known as a bad influence for exposing that which was deemed evil in the eyes of
people, but something everyone knew to be true. In all of his work, it was always shown that he
was a realist, he would argue for government to be fully effective, they would have needed to put
others needs above their own and to be efficient, they must let go of their deceitful ways and
embrace collaboration, and although he did a pretty bad job at communicating what he was
trying to say, today we can value his teachings more than the people of his time (Curtius, 2017).
His main view also included that for leaders to be a great leader, they would need to stay pure
and refrain from immoral motives and ideologies of their perspective of a perfect society.
An example of him trying to convey these concepts was found in his book presentation of the
The Prince, in chapter 15 there is a scene which leads to the actor describing: He who neglects
what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation
(Machiavelli, 1513, Ch.15).
Another prime example is when he shows the uncontrollable and hidden evil of a temptation in
every man: and many have imagined for themselves republics and principalities that no one has
ever seen or known to be in reality because a man who might want to make a show of goodness
in all things necessarily comes to ruin among so many who are not good. Because of this it is
necessary for a prince, wanting to maintain himself, to learn how to be able to be not good
and to use this and not use it according to necessity (Machiavelli, 1513, Ch.15). These passages
showed the truth he believed to be residing in every man wanting power, and willing to do
almost anything for it.
To fully understand some of where Machiavelli came from, we have to take into context he lived
in a time where uprising, overthrowing, deceit, murder and greed was at the order of the day. For
him to witness all of this and then put it into perspective he took it on fully, not leaving anything
to be sugar-coated (History.com Editors, 2018). He wanted to show the extreme effects of the
time by placing it in a play, magnifying the condoned evils which had rooted themselves in on
In conclusion, I do believe that Machiavellis teachings and viewpoints of realism has withstood
the test of time and he presents scenarios where mans deepest evils are shown brightly and
loudly, and then seen in context of the consequences of these actions. I do believe culture has
changed, but at the root of man, many of these desires still lie dormant, waiting for the
opportunity to partner with power and rear its ugly head within the soul of some inspiring men. I
believe that Machiavellis concepts were so true that the community of his time were shaken that
someone had the guts to display it in public. In todays world, we have seen how each and every
of his concepts has come true due to the number of horrible leaders the world has seen. I think
should we not be constantly checking ourselves, these desires would still come up when we are
presented with power and status, from a higher position in a job to a government employee.