The Prince: Better to be Loved or Feared?

THE PRINCE by Niccolo Machiavelli

Be sure to have read the Prince by Machiavelli. He feels it is better to be feared rather than loved as a leader. Given Machiavelli’s ideas about human nature, discuss what you believe are the qualities of a successful leader.

16 responses

20 09 2015
king† (@k1ngJarod)

With the points Machiavelli made in the article, I agree that it is better for a leader to be feared than loved. As the prince said, he cannot avoid the name of cruel since new states are always in danger. The Prince shouldn’t be afraid of what to do or afraid of making the wrong decision. With that being said, he should also know what decisions are good to make and not to decide too hastily on one. The Prince talks about how perfectly easy it is to be feared and not hated at the same time, provided you keep your hands off your subjects property and women. If the Prince doesn’t hold his composure, then how will he hold his armies together? If you are loved as a Prince and make the wrong decision your people can turn against you rather quickly and you can go from loved to hated. If you are loved, there is a greater chance you will get taken advantaged of as opposed to if you are feared. In conclusion, I believe it is better for a Prince to be feared rather than loved.

20 09 2015

I agree that it is better to be feared than loved as a leader. Machiavelli is not saying that a leader needs to be ruthless and sadistic, but that he needs to be ready to make tough decisions. A prince who spends all of his time trying to please everybody will be extremely unproductive. This is because the masses have differing opinions, it’s impossible to please somebody. A prince must be able to make the decision of what is best for the masses himself, and this requires him to exude the power that will cause the masses to trust his decision. Most importantly, our world is one of constant conflict. It’s an integral part of human nature. The prince that is viewed as kind and caring is the easiest target for an enemy regime. You must be a fear-inspiring leader so that you can combat the other fear-inspiring leaders.

22 09 2015
Adam Garrett

In a perfect world, most would agree that it is better to be loved than feared. However, as Machiavelli says, it is not a perfect world that we live in. According to Machiavelli’s beliefs (and I tend to agree with him), those who attempt to rule with an idealistic view on the world will inevitably be crushed by those willing to do whatever it takes to move up the political ladder of the world. Machiavelli continues on, saying that it is better to be feared rather than loved as a leader. Here, I agree with him once again. To try to be loved as a leader is a fool’s errand, the masses have so many differing opinions on every issue that you will never be able to please everyone. In the end, if you try to please everyone, you will please no one. You will be spread too thin. A prince must make a strong, firm decision that is best for himself and the state he rules, even if there are opponents to that decision.

22 09 2015

in my opinion I think it is better to be love as a leader then to be feared, because even though you have there follow through it is not willingly where you can get them to do much more difficult tasks with their respect and admiration.also if you do it thorough fear there is a chance that you can get overthrown by the people it also creates a warmongering fear and atmosphere about your country.

22 09 2015
Tristen Smythe

I don’t think that being feared rather then loved is a great way to rule. it is better to be loved and respected, yet cracking down on the law and showing authority is a good way to let the population know how it is supposed to behave. being a ruthless tyrant isn’t a good way to show the people that they mean something the the nation. Machiavelli’s views have truth to them but there’s a time and a place for everything. constantly be feared runs the risk of rebellion or revolution. its always good to flex and show muscle but kindness is respected, be careful not to show mercy as it can be seen as weakness. In the end it is better to have a connection with your people, a common goal, yet be firm in you decisions and make it clear that you know what you are doing.

25 09 2015
Madison Pantrey

I agree with Macheiavelli, that it is better to be feared as a leader as a posed to being loved because you can be assured that the people will do as you wish, but it is also important to be loved as a leader because you will be trusted and have better chances of people doing much more burdensome tasks, So overall I believe that its good to have balance between being loved and feared because you can instill fear in the people but also show them that they can respect you so that no rebellion occurs.

26 09 2015

I believe that a successful leader would be loved and feared equally. A leader that punishes fairly and rewards good deeds. But a leader should be feared enough that no nation would want to attack and be loved enough that his/her own nation does not turn against him/her. A nation should be able to trust there leader. A leader should always be ready for the worst and to make quick decisions.

29 09 2015
Zoe Dunsmoor (@ZoeDunsmoor)

For a leader to be successful in maintaining control and safety over there land they need to be feared rather than loved. A loved leader may come across as weak and easily disobeyed; on the other hand a leader who is feared will be respected by his (or her) nation. A leader needs to be firm with the laws that are in place and punish anyone who doesn’t follow them. This punishment needs to be fair an equal to each lawbreaker. Even though a leader should be feared, he is also to be trusted; an untruthful, controlling, dictator of a leader will not receive the obedience of the nation. So being a feared truthful leader is the way to go.

29 09 2015
heat0171 heat0171

I agree that it is better to be feared than loved as a leader. Fear may control the masses for a short while, but eventually an uprising of rebellion against such oppression would occur. However, should one rule with the carrot rather than the stick method, one would be regarded more favourably.
Showing mercy, but also a willingness to be cruel, is an effective means of preserving the respect of the masses. This ensures that those who may think of going against one’s rule would think twice of doing so, thus keeping possible agitators in line.
Confusing others with cleverness, rather than using honesty, has long been a practice of those in power. This is still accurate today, as it is widely known that politicians are rarely forthcoming or authentic with regards to the truth. Since human nature is so easily influenced, this could be easily done with the proper skills in the art of manipulation. It is also true that people tend to judge with their eyes, rather than their minds; therefore misleading tactics are consistently successful.
Humanity, in the eyes of the Prince, by Machiavelli, is both noble and corruptible. In the right circumstances, anyone is capable of just about anything. We are also capable of believing just about anything.
Human beings are creatures of habit, and demonstrate an extraordinary aptitude for laziness. Generally speaking, we prefer the path of least resistance. Our society has been effortlessly lulled into an apathetic state of ignorant acceptance by popular media and social standards, reminiscent of gladiators being the tools of Roman emperors to appease and distract their citizens from politics and the real issues. And yet, for the most part we are no more aware of it than they were.
What does this say about us as a species? We as a society pride ourselves on our advancements in technology and social justice, but have we really come all that far? In my opinion, we have much, much farther yet to go before this era of so-called “change” can even be considered a progressive one.

4 10 2015

To be feared or to be loved as a leader? Each have pros and cons. With being feared as a leader gives you complete control over your people, it also means that if there is a chance to go against you they will. To be loved is a great thing as your followers will want to stay loyal to you and will respect you as a person but maybe not as a person. They will look at you as a push over. So if I had to choose one as the Prince has described you must choose one, I would choose to be loved. I would rather have a long reign as King and have people love me than to know that people fear me and have to know that I could ruin there lives is not something that I can imagine living with

5 10 2015
mads (@madsbumstead)

I agree with Machiavelli that it is better to be feared rather than loved as a leader. Although being loved would have it’s benefits it would not establish the same level of authority as being feared would. A loved leader would demonstrate kindness, which could be translated to weakness. A feared leader would be instantly respected, simply out of fear.

5 10 2015

I agree with Machiavelli, that it is better to be feared as a leader, rather than loved, but not hated. Being feared as a leader creates an image of power and respect, wheres being loved, though the more favorable of the two, can create an image of weakness. Also, being feared as a leader creates less expectations from your people, thus not having to worry about hurting them, or your reputation, when having to make a decision for everyone.

15 10 2015
jess8942 jess8942

I believe that Machiavelli makes a good point, but I would rather be loved as a leader rahter than feared. Being feared as a leader would make people want to over power you, while being loved as a leader will make people respect you and want to keep you as their leader for a longer period of time.

26 10 2015
Jordan Bannon

I agree with Machiavelli. I think it is way better to be feared than loved. Being feared creates a sense of power and discipline, compared to being a push-over who is loved by everyone. Like Machiavelli said, we don’t live in a perfect world, so it is better to be feared than loved. With being feared, that means you have the power over everyone else. This is critical to being a good leader. Showing them who’s boss by making sure rules are followed and the laws are followed is one of the main reasons why its better to be feared than loved, people will listen!

3 11 2015
Paige Esterbrooks

I agree with Machiavelli’s comment on weather it is better to be feared rather than loved as a leader. When people fear you, it creates a sense of power over other people who are under his control, and if you are feared, less people will speak out against you. If you are loved as a leader, people could possibly take advantage of you and it could end up in negative results for you as the leader. If you are feared, people will listen to you because they will be too scared to step out of line!

22 11 2015
Freeman (@surfsquatch27)

Machiavelli believed that it was better to feared rather than loved in which I agree. In a time of up rising political science, philosophy, and renaissance, it would be crucial to be feared as leader. He said that religion makes men weak and that people should be their selves, stand against religion (or make it less of a threat to men), and rather fear a prince or physical leader. However, the prince would have to have a strong enough grasp of his nation and to be feared, rather than loved, to gain any respect from his people. If people fear the Prince enough they wouldn’t think of rebelling if the rules seem fair. If the Prince is too lenient with his actions and reactions, the people will view him as weak and his people may rebel, or other nations would feel like they could successfully attack them.

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