The Prince - Study Guide Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

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Every prince should wish to be thought of as kind rather than cruel. However, he must avoid misusing his kindness. Cesare Borgia was considered cruel, yet his cruelty resulted in peace in Romagna. On the other hand, when the Florentines tried to avoid cruelty, Pistoia was destroyed. Once a prince has set a few examples, he can afford to be kind. Disorder harms all of his people. A few well-placed executions harm only a few. The newly established prince can least afford excessive kindness.

Even so, a prince should be slow to believe and slow to act. He should avoid both carelessness and excessive harshness. Overall, it is better to be feared than loved. Men are fickle, greedy, and anxious to avoid danger. They will offer the ruler everything when the chance of sacrificing is remote. When the ruler needs them, they will turn from him. Men...

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This section contains 595 words
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