The Prince

What was the mission of exceptional importance to Machiavelli and why was it so important?

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The opening letter is abstract enough to allow for these changes: Machiavelli admits that he is seeking favor with “a prince” and is offering his book as a gift. “I…would like to commend myself to your Magnificence with some token of my readiness to serve you,” he writes. What Machiavelli is beginning to build (subtly in these first chapters and then more overtly later on) is a vision of Italy that is grounded in historical specificity and a set of cardinal rules by which the science of politics operates. Though there are admittedly a few allusions to God, for the most part Machiavelli refers to humans as agents of free will – fickle, noble, full of flaws and merits - and the ultimate barometer of power. What causes princes to succeed or fail? Human nature.