Nietzsche and Machiavelli Views on Love: Comparison

How Does Nietzsche Use Comparison to Make an Argument about Love?

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The exploration of love as one of the most complex feelings experienced by people requires a detailed analysis of the effects that it produces. Thus, the degree of power that love can give a leader can be identified and analyzed. In his work, Nietzsche points to the fact that the effects of love as the means of controlling people and leading them are often conflated with those of craving, which is quite reasonable given the fact that love can be loosely defined as a form of desire. By comparing love to desire, Nietzsche creates a compelling argument about the nature of love as an emotion and the foundation for relationships between people.

Furthermore, Nietzsche draws a range of minor comparisons such as the connection between power over a body and power over a soul, becoming tired of possessing something and getting tired with life, in general, etc. As a result, the idea of love being tied closely to the experience of ownership becomes all the more possible.

The comparison between love and desire made by Nietzsche serves as a crucial point in his line of reasoning and looks very convincing due to the profound exploration of the nature of the emotion. The philosopher identifies a range of connections between love and the willingness to experience particular sensation, thus, creating a string of arguments that prove his point successfully. By drawing links between various experiences in interpersonal relationships, as well as social interactions, Nietzsche manages to make a strong statement about love being a form of desire and, particularly, the need for possession, to which most people have a very strong propensity.

How Does Machiavelli Use Comparison to Make an Argument about Love?

In his work, Machiavelli utilizes comparison to draw parallels between love and fear as the means of influencing people. The author stresses that the specified emotions are the ones that are used most often to control a population and exert authority and power. However, even though love might be deemed as an extraordinarily powerful emotion that has a proverbially huge effect on people’s decisions and choices, Machiavelli makes it evident that it is less efficient than fear by comparing the effects of the two. Therefore, comparison as an analytical technique is utilized by Machiavelli to explore the nature of leadership, in general, and political authority, in particular.

Machiavelli makes his statement legitimate by outlining that the strength of a leader manifests itself in a leader’s ability to protect the state. The specified task, in turn, requires controlling the army and soldiers, who are more likely to respond to the policy based on fear rather than the one based on love. By comparing the effects that each emotion produces, Machiavelli proves that fear produces a much stronger effect than love when it comes to enhancing people’s ability to fight and protect others. Furthermore, Machiavelli compares love to friendship to show the lack of power over people’s emotions that it has when it comes to encouraging them to fight for the well-being of the state. Thus, a line is drawn between love and fear as political weapons.

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Which of the Two Arguments Is More Convincing, and Why?

Although Machiavelli makes a very legitimate point by claiming that the members of the army are likely to respond to the policy based on fear much faster than the one based on love, it seems that he overlooks the significance of being attached to one’s family and culture as the factors that encourage soldiers to protect their land. In other words, while fear provides an immediate effect when it comes to making the members of the military fight, it is the power of love that makes them persistent in their efforts to fight, as well as in their willingness to win. As a result, Machiavelli’s statement seems to lack another comparison, i.e., the spiritual and emotional long-term effects that love and fear produce. Consequently, his assumption about love having a less significant effect as the foundation for a leader to exert their influence within a state seems less impressive than the one that Nietzsche provides.

Claiming that Nietzsche’s argument lacks any disadvantages would be erroneous, too. For instance, the fact that he does not explore altruistic and spiritual aspects of love as the path to self-fulfillment can be regarded as a problem. Nevertheless, Nietzsche offers a more exhaustive study of love as a phenomenon and the effects that it has on people within a particular society. As a result, his argument remains more consistent and, therefore, serves as a platform for a better understanding of how the emotion of love affects people and their interactions.

Thus, Nietzsche’s comparison between love and desire appears to be more poignant than the one between love and fear provided by Machiavelli. Although the latter cannot be considered entirely wrong, it could use more elaboration. In his study, Nietzsche went a bit further and, thus, provided a more profound analysis of the subject matter. Therefore, one must give Nietzsche credit for developing a more coherent and convincing statement regarding love and its effects on people.

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"Nietzsche and Machiavelli Views on Love: Comparison." StudyCorgi, 29 May 2021,

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StudyCorgi. "Nietzsche and Machiavelli Views on Love: Comparison." May 29, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Nietzsche and Machiavelli Views on Love: Comparison." May 29, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Nietzsche and Machiavelli Views on Love: Comparison'. 29 May.

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