2011 World Politics question #4

Near the end of The Prince, Machiavelli comments that fortune accounts for about half of our actions; earlier in the text, he repeatedly points out occasions when someone would have succeeded except for fortune. Thus:

a) is Machiavelli right that so much of social and especially political life depends on fortune, and how would you know?
b) if half of life depends on fortune, what value is Machiavelli's advice to the would-be prince?

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