Virtue and Prudence from Machiavelli to Racine

Tonia C. Riviello
1991 Quaderni d'Italianistica  
Virtue and Prudence from Machiavelli to Racine Racine exhibits a marked indebtedness to the Machiavellian conception of virtue and prudence in several of his tragedies. It has been said that Racine had one great theme, love, and its many manifestations and effects, but in Bérénice, Britannicus, and Athalie he emphasized the clash between public responsibility and personal interest. Machiavelli never developed a concise doctrine concerning the term virtù, and his writings inconsistently invoke
more » ... nsistently invoke the notions of virtue and virtuosity. In // Principe Machiavelli expounds upon the virtue of personal achievement by urging the prince to reach his objectives through ingenuity and foresight. A well-conceived stratagem, well-executed plot, or ingenious deception elicit distinct praise from Machiavelli, especially if they serve some long-term civic purpose. Nonetheless, he is not oblivious to previous conceptions of virtue or devoid of moral sentiment. Virtue for Machiavelli is a cluster of attributes or traits that enables the state to achieve stability, dominance, and finally the communal virtue of justice. His stress on "active citizenship" may have only a tenuous connection to Christian virtue and his clear disdain of the doctrine of humility removes him from the Christian tradition, but in identifying the separate traits of virtue and prudence, he follows the lead of earlier philosophers and theologians.
doi:10.33137/q.i..v12i1.10505 fatcat:r5bwofaiwbfvvo33vfd5e2zfai