Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Prince by Machiavelli

Our prince was dressed in shiny armours, with an old and heavy sword by his side. He was riding a young white horse, a strong and handsome animal, fitted to the image of his master.

Our prince was riding to a tall and dark tower, hidden away in the mountains, and hiding, as per the local legend, a beautiful princes, held captive by an old and resentful witch, jealous of the young princes.

Against the will of all of his surroundings, the courtesans and his father, the old and proud king, our prince has undertaken this dangerous journey. The romantic pull had been too great for him, nothing could have stopped him. Enraged wolves, heavy bears, precipices and ravines had not yet gotten the best of him, and he was approaching his goal.

Finally the dark tower was in sight, but around its top was flying a great red dragon. The monster sighted the prince, and charged. Unfortunately, the prince didn’t know that the dragon, who himself was a proud prince of his race, was protecting something in the tower, long forgotten by history, but not by him. Lead by their blind pride, the two princes fought till the end. The handsome horse was no more, the last prince of the dragon race was no more either, and worse, had failed to his task such that our lands will never see dragons fly anymore. The young prince was crippled, with his right hand, his fighting hand, left hanging motionless to his side for the rest of his life, injured by the fatal blow it had delivered to the old dragon.

Inside the tower, no more traps or dangers, the old witch was nowhere to be seen, and the young princess turned out to be even more beautiful than the tales made her out to be.

The princess and the prince lived a long and happy life together, but the princess never spoke of her story or of how she came to be trapped by the old witch. With the years the prince stopped to care about this story, yet he was surprised by the maturity that the princess demonstrated; she seemed much wiser, knowledgeable and understanding than the prince, as if she had been a princes for a much longer time than her face would let one believe. Even stranger, with the years, the prince was growing old and grey but the princess kept her spark of youth.

On his dying bed, the prince was finally wise enough and understood. Looking in his eyes, the princess told him: “Yes, there was no old witch, I and her are the same”. Yet, this didn’t matter to the prince who died with the satisfaction of knowing that his land and his people lived peaceful and happy lives during his reign.

“Prince, did you hear the proposition? What do you think of the duke’s peace proposal?”

The prince came out of his reverie. He wasn’t wearing shiny armour, but a dark and oppressing military uniform, and no sword was hanging on his side, where a small and cold pistol was instead.

“The Duke’s proposal has its merits, but we are not yet ready to make these concessions”

The prince was talking as if he was reciting his favourite book “The Prince” by Machiavelli. Throughout his youth he had spent most of his time training for this moment, reading books on war and politics, and Machiavelli had been his greatest influence. Now that his father was old and ailing, and that the Great War was raging through all of the lands, the prince could apply his knowledge and fulfill the role that he was born into, no questions asked.

Yet he often had similar day dreams, and he had always felt that Machiavelli had missed something, when writing solely about power, influence, economics, war and how to be a good prince in general. Machiavelli had forgotten that the prince is also a man, and had omitted to instruct or advise how to live a man’s life while remaining a prince. Our prince had shared this though only one at a young age with his old teachers, who quickly dismissed it as a sign of weakness. Yet, now that our prince was swimming in the middle of this war and its heavy consequences, this idea was haunting him more than ever.

“We shall return to the table in two hours with our own final proposition” said the prince, and as he got up from the table he thought to him self: “When all of this butchering is done I am going to write an extra chapter for Machiavelli’s book, and I shall call it The Princess”.

Exactly two hours latter, our prince was back with a peace proposal, which was accepted by the end of the night. Even though his troops were closing in to the heart of the industrial region of his enemy, our prince gave up most of the conquests in order to secure peace.

The troops were disappointed, blinded they were by their quick victories. His father was disappointed, his ministers were raging and accusing our prince of giving up too easily and too quickly, and failing to turn his land into a great and strong empire. His people didn’t know what to think, and regardless, no one cared of what the people thought to begin with; they could be made to believe whatever one wanted.

Our prince came to be known as the loser.

Yet, that didn’t affect him. He knew what he was, and that’s all that mattered to him.

Shortly after the war, an addition to Machiavelli’s “The Prince” was published under the name “The Princess” by a previously unknown scholar, who never wrote anything after either.

“The Princes” was a story about lonely dragons, princesses, witches, princes and losers. And somewhere along the lines of the oddly fantastic story, were hidden ideas and wisdom equivalent to that of Machiavelli’s, but on a topic the Italian scholar had omitted to discuss.

Now our prince was old, waiting at a yet another unnamed port, waiting for yet another unnamed boat to take him to yet another useless diplomacy trip.

But someone had to do it, and because of all of this his land was peaceful and his people happy.

Still, behind closed doors, his ministers were still refereeing to him as the loser, frustrated with what they saw a fatal failure on his side to secure their names in the history book of the world.

It did hurt. But he still knew what he was and that’s all that mattered to him.

Comments:
Machiavelli’s Prince and Fairy-tale princes have nothing in common. In addition, The Prince is a political writing from a servant to his prince. These differentiations should be made before we continue with a deeper analysis of the literary work.
Obviously, the main protagonist of the story is a loser, not only, but he is an unhappy loser too. However, I would argue that what makes the prince a loser is not his choice of peace instead of war; what makes the prince a loser is public opinion. The fact that public opinion exerts such a strong influence on the prince’s feelings speaks for itself. For example, the presence of the public opinion in the mind of the prince is so strong that in analysing his own choice the prince thinks in terms of his ministers, his people, etc. : “His people didn’t know what to think, and regardless, no one cared of what the people thought to begin with; they could be made to believe whatever one wanted”.
Not only is the prince deprived of independent thought, but also he seems to show disrespect to his own people. If the prince cannot count on the support of his people he is no prince whatsoever, not to say that his people is corrupt if they praise war over peace.
In the same line of thought, it may be argued that the prince is no loser at all, but that he feels like one. No surprise! And this is the problem. As it is usually the case with fairy tale princes, they never feel losers for their choices, as they sincerely believe in them. If they do not feel like losers, they would never be.
 
A champagne supernova in the sky
Wake up the dawn and ask her why
A dreamer dreams, she never dies
 
ot dosta vreme ne s'm ti chel bloga, ta priyatno se iznenadah.

otnosno princovete, drakonite i princesite, voynata i mira, shtastieto i neshtastieto, vsichko tova e plod na obshtestvenite predstavi, koito sa lesno-malipuliruemi. kato se e zad'rzhal na vlast tolkova d'lgo vreme che da umre ot starost, znachi e uspeshen princ. kato sv. czar Pet'r, koyto upravlyaval 43 godini, i ostanal zapomnen kato toatel luz'r, shtoto bulgarite nali iskame vse da pobezhdavame, i vse da r'kovodim. ama na.

pogledni tova btw, shte ti haresa, v'v vr'zka s makiaveli:
http://bg.wikiquote.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B4_%D0%A1%D0%B0%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B1%D1%83%D1%80%D0%B3%D0%B3%D0%BE%D1%82%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8

vr'shtay se po-skoro v dolno montrealovo.
 
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