The Prince | Study Guide

Niccolò Machiavelli

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Prince Study Guide." Course Hero. 29 Sep. 2016. Web. 26 June 2022. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2016, September 29). The Prince Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 26, 2022, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)



Course Hero. "The Prince Study Guide." September 29, 2016. Accessed June 26, 2022.


Course Hero, "The Prince Study Guide," September 29, 2016, accessed June 26, 2022,

The Prince | Symbols



The lion is a symbol of courage and ferocity in many cultures and features often in the insignia of noble houses. In The Prince, it symbolizes the straightforward and warlike nature an effective prince must be able to exhibit in order to win glory and respect.

The lion is one of the two beasts a prince should emulate, according to Machiavelli. Its strength is that it can "frighten off wolves," or those that would threaten the lion's domain. The wolves in this case are the rival princes who also want glory. The lion's weakness is that it is "defenseless versus traps." Here, the traps refer to bad fortune and the deceptions of rival princes.


The fox symbolizes cleverness and deceit. Because of its small size, it must outwit its prey rather than overpower it. An effective prince, when dealing with enemies who are dangerous to face in straightforward combat, is advised to be like the fox. Where military might cannot prevail, the prince should be clever and deceptive.

The fox's strength is that it can "recognize traps"—or bad fortune and deceptions that a prince must be prepared for in order to preserve the stability of his domain. The weakness of the fox is that it is "defenseless against wolves," who will drive the fox from its home. The wolves are the rival princes who are always looking to expand their territories.


Centaurs are Greek mythological creatures that are half horse and half human. In The Prince, Machiavelli uses this creature to observe that humans are part beast. An effective prince must realize this and be able to freely channel the human and bestial parts of his nature to deal with enemies and subjects.

Machiavelli points out the beast-like side of humans when he claims that they are "wretched creatures who [will] not keep their word to you" and will instead seek their own personal interests. This is a consistent theme throughout The Prince—the notion that humans are always out to benefit themselves.

The non-beast part of humans aspires to be moral and rational. Machiavelli does not make much mention of this part of human nature, except as an ideal not plausible given the way the world really works.

Questions for Symbols

View all
Does anyone have an example of something they are not sure if it would be considered common knowledge or not? If so post it here and explain why you are not sure.
Hello, I just need this essay re-written. I need the same info provided just re-writen so it does not show as plaigarized. Build versus buy seems to be a question that pops up regular in the business
Give the correct form of given word to complete each sentences. 1. Space ... have paid more attention to the questions what aliens actually look like. ( RESEARCH) 2. The show brought ... to millions o
here is the article in this article there are few storie. however, the stories are "Apollo and Hyacinthus" and "Pygmalion". there 2 question for those stories
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Prince? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!