What were the three major themes of The Prince by Machiavelli?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The first main theme is politics. The Prince was written as a manual for new rulers who desired complete control. Machiavelli argued that the prince must maintain sovereignty over his subjects. Virtuous qualities are not required for effective leadership, as being feared is more important than being known for admirable traits. To maintain political power, the prince must utilize force when necessary and keep his motives hidden from the public. 

The second main theme is fate and chance. The prince can't assume that everything will go his way. So he must be prepared for what is beyond his control. Machiavelli encouraged caution and preparation, rather than simply falling victim to fate. It's imperative that the prince must use his free will in order to change his methods and adjust to various situations. 

The third main theme is deception. While public perception is key to gaining loyalty from commoners, Machiavelli argued that lying is necessary to maintaining control. The prince needs...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 629 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Already a member? Log in here.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on