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BENDING MORALITY In the past many writers and philosophers have concocted stringent guidelines on how humans as servants of God should properly conduct themselves These elite thinkers such as Augustine and Dante are deeply religious and vehemently scorn those who stray from the Lord To them a life of sacrifices is the only appropriate way to live Their beliefs have been so deeply imbedded in the morale of society that anyone who opposes them is destined for ridicule However despite the good odds of criticism against such ideas a newer breed of writers in the middle ages began to preach ideas of pragmatism a kind of partial morality One such writer is Niccolo Machiavelli who in The Prince and in the play Mandragola preaches synonymous controversial ideas against his societys Catholic norms Christine De Pizan preaches similar unique ideas in A Medieval Womans Mirror of Honor The Treasury of the City of Ladies when she appears to teach Catholicism but rather contradi cts herself by encouraging pragmatism Both writers give identical and realistic guidelines rather than religious guidelines to how one should act in society De Pizans overall work however is confusing in comparison to Machiavellis because she leads the reader to confusion as a result of the contradictions in the text In this way Machiavellis works are far more effective Although they differ in seriousness and style Machiavellis The Prince and Mandragola convey the same pragmatic idealism In The Prince Machiavelli systematically discusses the proper edicate to which a prince should adhere if he wants to be successful He strongly preaches the necessity for the absence of morality and virtue in many situations He explains when he says the gulf between how one should live and how one does live is so wide that a man who neglects what is actually done for what should be done moves towards self-destruction rather than self-preservation The fact is that a
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