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THE NOVEL - SUMMARY AND NOTES
QUALITIES OF THE PRINCE DISCUSSED IN PART III
The personal qualities of the successful prince, as discussed by Machiavelli in Part III, are summarized here for your convenient reference. In many ways, this is the core of The Prince. Machiavelli presents his recommendations in the form of a series of opposite alternatives.
• FREE-SPENDING OR TIGHTFISTED
The prince who spends freely on building projects, patronage of the arts, and gifts to friends makes himself popular only with the few who receive the benefits. The tightfisted ruler wins more popularity because he doesn't tax his subjects as much. He also has more money to spend in military emergencies.
• CRUEL OR KIND
It is better to have a reputation for kindness than for cruelty, but cruelty
(severity) is needed to maintain order. If a prince is cruel to a few
criminals and malcontents, they alone suffer; if he is excessively "kind"
and lets public order break down, everyone suffers from the increase in
robbery and murder.
• LOVED OR FEARED
A prince should be both loved and feared-but, if he must choose, it is better to be feared. But he must not make himself hated.
• DEPENDENT ON HIS FORTRESSES OR DEPENDENT ON THE LOYALTY OF HIS SUBJECTS
Despite the great importance of military power, a prince who bases his rule on building fortresses to overawe his subjects, like Francesco Sforza of Milan, cannot rule securely. A prince's best fortress is the loyalty of his subjects.
• USED AS A TOOL BY ADVISERS ORABLE TO USE ADVISERS AS TOOLS
A prince needs able advisers. But, after he has taken counsel with them, he must make up his own mind about policy decisions. He should not accept unsolicited advice, and he should not let his advisers talk him into constantly changing his mind.