A good prince, it has been said for centuries, … should not try to instill fear in but to win the love of his subjects.
Machiavelli argues instead that a prince should ‘know well how to use the beast and the man.’ With similar daring, he discarded the doctrine that a good prince must be generous, lavishing gifts and favors on his friends, [writing that he] will succeed only in flattering a few hangers-on and bankrupting his estate. … Machiavelli writes that a prince should certainly hope to be considered merciful and kind, but that cruelty [could be] ‘well-used.’ … It is difficult to be loved and feared at the same time, but ‘it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one has to lack one of the two.’ … [Further], princes who have readily broken their word have ‘done great things’; and have triumphed over princes who have kept their word. … In short, he wants a prince who knows how to win.
If we define them, broadly, as the undead—spirits who rise, embodied, from their graves to torment the living—they have been part of human imagining since ancient times. – The New Yorker