Machiavelli was the product of tempestuous and risky times, personally experiencing the complexities and ruthlessness seemingly essential when he ruled Florence. In line with Machiavelli, the ideal way to rule a principality is by any means necessary; the ruler should be able to oversee absolute moral rules without consequence. The ruler is also deemed to be able to be dishonest, telling the community what it wants to hear while deceiving his people by giving the impression that he is of the purest and most honest beings.
When becoming a leader of sorts, in the eyes of Machiavelli, that individual is expected to be fluent in the language of manipulation. For the fearless ruler, the only way to maintain the highest power was by an means necessary; in The Prince, a non-fiction political science work by Machiavelli himself, he tells of how Cesare Borgia, a trusted duke of Machiavelli, lured in the leaders of the Orsini, people who were a threat to the ruler’s power, offering them money, clothes, and horses to gain their trust, putting them, at [Machiavelli’s] mercy, then he kills all of them in a significant massacre (pg. 520). In doing so, Machiavelli upheld his ultimate power by way of ruthless actions while also gaining the support of his ruled population as they were enjoying a new prosperity. This reveals that a ruler in the opinion of Machiavelli has to do whatever is essential in order to assert your dominance and influence on the people.
Furthermore, another strength a Machiavellian ruler must possess is the art of lying. While lying makes you seem untrustworthy and dishonorable to the people you are ruling, it is critical that one must be able to accomplish the task by making it seem like you are really telling the truth; being as slick as a fox. The most important part of being untruthful, is that the people being ruled are completely unware of what is occurring. Machiavelli claims that people are devious and will not keep faith with others, therefore faith shouldn’t be kept on with them, thus leads to him saying, a wise ruler cannot, and should not keep [their] word when doing so is to [their] disadvantage (pg. 538). Due to this, it is evident the people being ruled will never be satisfied with the truth, therefore one must be deceitful with them in order for the community to keep its peace and continue to run smoothly.
Lastly, another component that a ruthless ruler must own is the ability to be feared. In The Prince, the question of ?should one be feared or loved?’ is alluded to on occasions and the answer almost always depends on the character of the one answering, however in the eyes of Machiavelli, it is crucial for one to be feared by their peers, especially if they are in a position of sovereign. The sense of fear is also the ultimate strength when dealing with other territorial competitors; if one is so ruthless and daunting in the way they rule, it dreads the equals of the ruler due to their worry of a potential conquering. When discussing the probable defeat of one of the territorial competitors due to their negation to give up land in The Prince, Machiavelli states, The subjects can appeal against their exactions to you, their ruler. As a consequence they have more reasons to love you, if they behave themselves, and, if they do not, the more reason to fear you (pg. 511). This makes it evident to the reader that Machiavelli thinks a ruler should always take matters into their own hands, never to compromise and never to delegate. As a result, a ruler aspiring to be like Machiavelli, is to get things done in their own way without any fear of repercussions, allowing the people being led to see their ruler is fearless.
Due to Machiavelli being the creation of a malicious and violent period of time, his first-hand experience of cruelty gave him to the tools and ideas to become the harsh leader he once was. By imposing fear and hatred amongst his people, he was always feared by many, giving him the success he once obtained. These same factors of manipulation, dishonesty, and fear are what modern Machiavellian leaders tend to possess as well, making their unjust actions are seen as inhumane and wrong. This, however is how Machiavelli rose to power because his actions did not matter to him, as long as they benefitted his reign, giving the prime example of the ends justifying the means.