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Plato and Machiavelli on Vision of Politics

An assessment of Machiavelli and his expression of this philosophy in The Prince has import for the world today, a world where the idea of realpolitik mirrors much of Machiavellian thought.

Plato's Republic describes a society that is completely rational, based on Plato's concept of the good life and developed to create and protect that sort of life within the context of a civil state. What Plato seeks in this dialogue is a definition of the perfect life and the perfect state to promote and sustain that life. The Ideal State is a concept and not a reality, either in Plato's time or since. Much of what Plato embodies in the Ideal State is probably a reaction to imperfections in the government and society of his time. Plato lived in a time of turmoil and warfare, and he created a society that would be free of strife if it lived up to the ideal. To a large degree, Plato ignores or subsumes human nature, and for his perfect society to work to protect the perfect life, it would have to be made up of perfect people. Plato tries to address this through education and other means, but in the final analysis his Republic must remain an ideal only, and to a great extent one man's ideal.

In The Republic, Plato shows a theoretical perspective in terms of what preoccupies him in his analysis. His major concerns are stability, justice, divine right, and the cas


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