Machiavelli’s The Prince is a story about results rather than the intent or the process of getting to the end. From the other stories, we have read thus far, “Virtue” is a major part of the overall meaning. It was mentioned that through the translation of the story that “Virtue” has been to many other words in the English language. This story discusses is the role of virtue in a ruler or the prince’s ideas not in a sense that we have seen before in other philosophers.
The interpretation of “virtue” or virtu in The Prince is on the basics of the Prince maintaining his reign, how to act, why he acts, and the result at the end. They see his virtue as everything that pertains to him staying in control over his reign and controlling those who follow them. If he can change and plan his virtue to fit the circumstances he will be a successful and powerful prince. Virtu in this context of the story doesn’t necessarily contain goodness, or good behavior, but includes everything from life, that goes against fortune. “he need not make himself uneasy at incurring a reproach for those vices without which the state can only be saved with difficulty, for if everything is considered carefully, it will be found that something which looks like virtue, if followed, would be his ruin; whilst something else, which looks like vice, yet followed brings him security and prosperity” (Chapter XV). This quote shows that the prince must do bad evil things to contain his reign and power because if he tries to be good, and never evil, he will not remain prince for long. This goes against the Christian and Greek view of the world because he is saying virtue is not the golden mean, or the vitreous behavior, but everything that goes against fortune. He believes that is it ok to do things wrong, as long as the ends justify the means. Virtu is necessary for a prince to have because it also is the talent or ability that can be put forward to accomplish certain objectives or ambition.
In The Prince, there is also a strong connection between virtu and fortune, or Fortuna, in chapter 25, is where it is most prevalent, although throughout the whole story. Fortuna and fortune are not seen as wealth, money, or other things in large amounts, but in the context of this story as luck or chance. That means that fortune is everything that the Prince can’t control, whether that be a natural force, or by the will of God. “So, it happens with fortune, who shows her power where valour has not prepared to resist her, and thither she turns her forces where she knows that barriers and defences have not been raised to constrain her” (Chapter XXV). This shows that no one can control fortune or fate and that she will rage on like “raving rivers”, and take what she will and what she chooses. As the people, we must see fortune and hope for the best, but we cannot plan for it, and we cannot stop it.
The Prince brings an interesting perspective to virtue, and fortune that has yet to be seen. He explains the real world, and not ideal or made up worlds, and because of that nothing is good, and evil must also be used by the powerful. In order for them to stay powerful, and keep their regime going.