Utopia By Thomas More And The Prince By Machiavelli

819 words - 3 pages

Utopia by Thomas More and The Prince by Machiavelli

Thomas More’s Utopia and Machiavelli’s The Prince both concern themselves with the

fundamental issues of how a society works and maintains itself. The goals behind the two works,

however, differ considerably. The goal of Utopia is to illustrate the maintenance of an “ideal”

society and the goal of The Prince is to instruct a prince, or ruler, on how to maintain his state.

On the surface these two goals may seem similar but the difference lies in the way the authors

handle the subject of power. As a manual, or handbook if you will, Prince treats power as a

necessity, a goal, to be worked towards and maintained, almost at all costs. Utopia, a fantasy,

treats power as something all individuals have; rather, they are empowered. By comparing the

way both works use and treat point of view and form, governmental systems and ideals the

differences in perspective on power becomes clearer.

Ideas are brought forth differently in both works through narrative point of view and

style. These two different ways reflect the views of power the authors hold. The Prince is told

in a matter of fact tone, its purpose being to inform a prince on how to run his kingdom. Inherent

in this purpose is a key to Mach’s view of power. Because it was written for the use of one man

to dominate over and control his kingdom/state, it was obviously not meant for lesser mortals. It

in itself is a tool of power which could be used for only the good of the prince who uses it.

Whether or not the people are empowered does not matter, it is irrelevant. It only matters that the

prince uses it to maintain his own power. In contrast, Utopia is a fantasy written by More to

suggest an alternative way of life for the people. He focuses very little on the doings of the prince

in his ideal society; what matters in Utopia is the actions of the people. One might even say that

the people are empowered, but the ideals that truly run the society, are empowered. More’s true

focus does not even lie in power, but in the seeking of ideals.

A second comparison that one could make is that the types of governments also have

inherent qualities within them concerning power. In the Prince, the government is either a

theoretical monarchy or dictatorship. Mach focuses on...

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