Niccolò Machiavelli was a Renaissance political philosopher and statesman whose ideas continue to influence political thought to this day. One of the key concepts in his philosophy is the idea of fortune, or Fortuna in Italian. This concept plays a central role in his most famous work, The Prince, in which he advises rulers on how to acquire and maintain power.
According to Machiavelli, Fortuna is a fickle and unpredictable force that can either help or hinder a ruler's efforts to achieve their goals. He believed that Fortuna was beyond human control and could not be relied upon to bring success. Instead, he argued that a ruler should focus on their own actions and abilities, and not rely on Fortuna to deliver them victory.
Machiavelli argued that Fortuna could be harnessed to a certain extent through the use of virtù, or personal ability and courage. A ruler with virtù could take advantage of opportunities presented by Fortuna and use them to further their own ends. However, he also recognized that Fortuna could be a double-edged sword, and that a ruler who relied too heavily on it could be led astray and ultimately fail.
In The Prince, Machiavelli advises rulers to be cautious in their dealings with Fortuna, and to be prepared for both success and failure. He advises them to have contingency plans in place in case things do not go as expected, and to be flexible and adaptable in the face of changing circumstances.
Overall, Machiavelli's concept of Fortuna is a reminder that success is not always within our control, and that we must be prepared to deal with both good and bad luck as it comes our way. It is a cautionary tale for those who seek power and influence, and a reminder of the importance of personal responsibility and agency in achieving our goals.
"To His Coy Mistress" is a poem written by Andrew Marvell in the 17th century. It is a persuasive poem in which the speaker, a man, attempts to convince a woman to succumb to his advances and engage in a sexual relationship with him.
The poem is structured in three stanzas, with each stanza representing a different stage in the speaker's argument. In the first stanza, the speaker lavishes the woman with compliments and tells her that, if they had all the time in the world, he would devote himself to her and spend countless hours admiring and praising her beauty. He tells her that he would spend so much time on her that he would be able to "adore" every inch of her body, from the "ten hours' clock" of her breasts to the "tenth part of a minute" of her coyness.
In the second stanza, the speaker shifts his focus to the idea of time and the limited nature of human life. He tells the woman that time is fleeting and that, as they are both mortal, they must make the most of their time on earth. He urges her to seize the moment and embrace their carnal desires, saying, "Now let us sport us while we may, / And now, like amorous birds of prey, / Rather at once our time devour / Than languish in his slow-chapped power."
In the final stanza, the speaker returns to the theme of beauty and attempts to use the fear of death and decay to persuade the woman to give in to his advances. He tells her that, if she does not succumb to his desires, her beauty will eventually fade and be forgotten, saying, "Thy beauty shall no more be found, / Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound / My echoing song." The speaker argues that the only way to preserve her beauty and ensure that it is remembered is to engage in a sexual relationship with him.
Overall, "To His Coy Mistress" is a clever and well-crafted persuasive poem that uses flattery, appeals to the fleeting nature of life, and the fear of death and decay to try to convince a woman to engage in a sexual relationship. It is a timeless example of the power of words and the lengths that people will go to in order to achieve their desires.