Good and evil in Machiavelli's "The Prince"

400 years after its publication, Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince still inspires analysis and comment. One of the latest is a two-part story by Nick Spencer in the Guardian. The premise of the article: How do we utilise power to do good while utilising evil to keep power?

From the article:

Niccolo Machiavelli shocked his contemporaries, and can still shock us, with his easy acceptance of the role of violence and cruelty in worldly success. At one point in his best-known work, The Prince, he argues casually that Fortune should be raped: "Fortune is female and if you want to stay on top of her you have to slap and thrust … she's more likely to yield that way."

It's a horrible picture that manages to upset us in a way that the book's central theme upset its first readers: what if the Christian idea that politics must be subject to justice was wrong? What if might is actually right?