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The Prince: Novel Summary: Chapters 25-26

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Chapter 25: In this chapter, Machiavelli attacks the idea that chance, or fortune, controls the fate of a prince.  Though he acknowledges the role that luck plays in the affairs of men, he maintains that human free will also has its effects.  He asserts, "I hold it to be true that Fortune is the arbiter of one-half of our actions, but that she still leaves us to direct the other half." Though giving luck half of the control over our lives may seem quite liberal to contemporary thinkers, Machiavelli's logic here signifies a clearly modern notion of humankind.  Until the Renaissance, free will was hardly regarded at all in the big scheme of things.  God and fate were thought to be the main sources of human action.  So it's obvious that Machiavelli is beginning to lean in the direction of modernity on this issue.  Nevertheless, even Machiavelli admits that a successful prince can be quickly ruined if he is not prepared for the consequences of lady luck.
Chapter 26: In his final chapter, Machiavelli speaks about his hopes for Italy's future.  He asserts that there has never been a time in its history that more clearly has paved the road for a new prince to take charge.  Italy seems to be at its lowest point ever, so it appears ready to make a rebound.  Machiavelli explains, "Italy, left as without life, waits for him who shall yet heal her wounds and put an end to the ravaging and plundering of Lombardy, to the swindling and taxing of the kingdom and of Tuscany, and cleanse those sores that for long have festered." More than anything, Machiavelli wants a unified Italy dominated by Florence, his home city-state.
Lastly, Machiavelli implores the Medici family of Florence to accept his nomination and lead Italy to national prominence once again.  He concludes, "Nor is there to be seen at present one in whom she can place more hope than in your illustrious house, with its valor and fortune, favored by God and by the Church of which it is now the chief, and which could be made the head of this redemption."




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