The Role of Virtu for Machiavellis Ideal Prince

The Prince&nbsp.is particularly successful in guiding politicians in terms of gaining, using and maintaining power.The Prince even earned for Machiavelli a place in the contemporary political vocabulary with the term Machiavellian denoting a cunning, unscrupulous and clever politician. This was foisted upon the world by the fact that his infamous discussion on the ideal prince was contained herein. One of the most interesting elements of the book was the virtu – the embodiment of all the requirements of the Machiavellian ideal prince.

Virtu and the extensive discussion on the ideal prince are contained in Machiavelli’s opus The Prince. These books, along with The Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy (or the Discourses), were intended for the podesta and the city magistrates of the north Italian towns. The Prince was published in 1532, about four years after the author’s death. Since then, its maxims and ideals would resonate with politicians, scholars, students, adherent and critics alike.

In The Prince, Machiavelli particularly made use of the far more ancient tradition of holding up a speculum or a mirror to the princes, presenting them with an ideal image and asking them to seek reflections in its depths. The idea is that the ideal prince as vir virtutis, whose conduct in the normal course should be honest and utile, but, in exceptional circumstances, he must transcend all considerations of conventional conscience and rely on virtu in order to overwhelm Fortuna and thus achieve success. (Singh 1997, p. 982) Machiavelli’s opinions on political matters have been so admirably expressed in The Prince. There are critics who argued that the treatise is an aberration in the development of political science, with the idea that morality can be sacrificed for political expediency.&nbsp.&nbsp.