Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Prince: Introduction
The Prince: Plot Summary
The Prince: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Prince: Themes
The Prince: Quotes
The Prince: Characters
The Prince: Symbols
The Prince: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Niccolò Machiavelli
Historical Context of The Prince
Other Books Related to The Prince
- Full Title: The Prince
- When Written: 1513-1514
- Where Written: Machiavelli's farm at Sant' Andrea in Percussina, seven miles south of Florence
- When Published: Manuscript copies of The Prince began to circulate in and around Florence circa 1516; printed versions first appeared in 1532.
- Literary Period: Italian Renaissance
- Genre: Political treatise
- Setting: Renaissance Italy
- Climax: Machiavelli urges Lorenzo dé Medici to use the tactics and strategies outlined in The Prince to unify war-ravaged Italy.
- Antagonist: The "malice" of fortune; inept rulers
- Point of View: First-person narration by Machiavelli
Extra Credit for The Prince
What's in a name? The adjective "Machiavellian" derives from Machiavelli's name, referring to a person who uses cunning tricks and dishonesty to achieve his ends. First appearing in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1626, the word came into use following the widespread circulation of The Prince. "Machiavellian" is also used as a psychological term, referring to a personality type that tends towards manipulation and exhibits a lack of empathy.
The Machiavelli Fan Club. Among The Prince's many well-known devotees were English monarch Henry VIII, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, American president John Adams, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.