In the novel “The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli, the author stresses the relevance of the different states a prince can achieve; he can either be in a republic or a principality. Machiavelli expresses this through the symbol of the fox and the lion which also defines human nature. Machiavelli’s concept is still in play today in our social life and present in our government. In everything that people do, there has to be balance, which is why the author’s primary purpose is to explain why a prince needs both natures of a fox and lion to keep stability. The function of Machiavelli insisting that a prince must learn to reflect on both the fox and the lion so that he may learn the characteristics of these animals when obstacles arise. Machiavelli uses the metaphor of the fox and lion to emulate what he is describing.
Machiavelli states that a prince must be proud and confident like a lion but still, sly and clever like a fox. “prince to know how to make use of both natures, and that one without the other is not sufficient… ought to choose the fox and the lion”. (18.
1.27) The author uses an example of how this metaphor is played in society with Septimius Severus, the Roman emperor. Severus uses his inner lion to make his people be submissive to him, while also using his inner fox to avoid hatred. “although the people were oppressed by him, he ruled successfully.” (19.
16.31) Today, the symbolism of the fox and lion is still present in our contemporary society. Machiavelli expresses that leaders should hide their true intentions and always avoid differences. “Act against mercy, against faith, against humanity, against frankness, against religion, in order to preserve the state.
” (10.4.16). This is shown today, in the United States government we still have senators, presidents, council members that are hiding things from the public. The idea of power can be manipulative and everyone wants to have some sort of power.
Using the lion ways politicians boastfully to gain power by laying promises that most of the times are not kept, then using foxy ways to recognize their mistakes without owning up to it. Machiavelli knows that as a prince keeping promises is always a win-win, but he believes that a prince should be a master of deception. “a prudent ruler cannot, and must not, honor….him at a disadvantage and when the reasons for which he made his promise no longer exist.
” (18.1.27) Using Pope Alexander VI as someone who has excelled at the concept of the lion and the fox.