The Sister Brothers
Peter DeWitt novel “The Sister Brothers” is set in western frontiers of America in 1850’s. Eli and Charlie Sisters are notorious professional killers, are on their way to California to kill a man named Hermann Kermit Warm. Charlie makes money and kills anyone who stands in his way.
While Eli on the other hand has doubts about what they do for a living and falls in love easily. In “The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli he says the best way to manipulate people and gain power is through Intelligence, fear and emotion.
In the novel “The Sister Brothers” Charlie the eldest brother employs all of these tactics to control his brother and those around him. “The wise man does at once what the fool does finally”- Niccolo Machiavelli Charlie uses his intelligence to trick others into thinking that he is a gunslinger that plays by the rules. In one instance, Charlie and Eli are cornered by a group of trappers. The trappers plan to kill the brothers to gain fame and fortune. So Charlie proposes the idea of a fair duel between him and the leader.
As Eli counts to three Charlie turns around and shoots all the trappers in the head killing all of them. Charlie was able to dominate the situation and live by using intellect. “It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both”- Niccolo Machiavell Charlie though has the best of both worlds. His brother loves him devotedly while others around him fear him. Charlie has killed so many men that he has become infamous and when people hear his name they tremble with fear. For example when Charlie and Eli trap Hermann he lays his gun down and gives up without a second thought.
He knows that they could kill him before he even moved to pull the trigger. “A wise prince should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of others” “I was not an efficient killer. I was not and had never been and would never be. Charlie had been able to make use of my temper was all; he had manipulated me, exploited my personality”-Eli Sister. During their days as assassin Charlie had tempered Eli into a killer through his personality. All Eli wanted to do was protect his brother from those who wished to hurt him.
Charlie understood this and used his brothers protective emotions to advance himself in criminal underworld. In all of the violent situations that occur in the novel Charlie and Eli always come out on top through intelligence, fear and emotion. Niccolo Machiavelli would call Charlie “The Perfect Prince”. Charlie has used all of the techniques that Niccolo would advise someone to gain and maintain power in their lives. So by using the techniques the Machiavelli suggest isn’t it possible for anyone to gain and maintain power?