Machiavelli and Sun Tzu Comparison Essay

Machiavelli and Sun Tzu
An analysis of the similarities and differences in Niccolo Machiavelli's and Sun Tzu's political philosophy.
# 119400 | 2,706 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2010 | CA
Published on Apr 25, 2010 in Political Science (Machiavelli, Niccolo) , Philosophy (General)

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This paper examines how Niccolo Machiavelli and Sun Tzu were two of the most influential thinkers and military strategists of all time and how many of their ideas and notions are still being used to this day in regards to warfare and even business. In particular, the paper compares and contrasts the ideas of these two men concerning the act of war, and, despite their similarities, show how different the work of each man truly was.

From the Paper:

"Although the concept of fortuna is unique to Machiavelli, Sun Tzu relies heavily on the idea of opportunity as well. Because Sun does not believe in fortuna in the same way Machiavelli does, Sun says that opportunity comes not from our strength or success but from the failure and mistakes of our enemies. Because of this, Sun Tzu says that we must always be ready and waiting to take advantage of the opportunity that the enemy will give us. Sun portrays this idea well in chapter 4 of the Art of War when he says; "To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself" (The Art of War, p. 19). We can see here that Machiavelli believes that through proper preparation you can successfully guard yourself against defeat, but the opportunity for victory can only from taking advantage of your enemies mistakes. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Machiavelli, Niccolo: Translated with an introduction by Harvey C. Mansfield. The Prince. London, England: The University of Chicago Press, 1985
  • Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Art of War. New York: Da Capo Press, 1965
  • Tzu, Sun: Edited with a foreword by James Clavell. The Art of War. New York, Dell Publishing, 1983

Cite this Comparison Essay:

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