this point one may note that men must be either pampered or annihilated.
They avenge light offenses; they cannot avenge severe ones; hence,
the harm one does to a man must be such as to obviate any fear of
This passage from Chapter III is an
example of logical reasoning conspicuously devoid of ethical considerations.
A prince must realize that he has two options: benevolence and destruction.
Because the latter option will cause resentment among the people,
he should choose it only if he is absolutely sure there will be
no ill consequences—that the destruction he incurs will eliminate
or disable any parties that might seek to revenge themselves against
him. Feelings of pity or compassion are meaningless. Self-interest
and self-protection are in this case the motivating factors and
are to be pursued ruthlessly.