Sir Francis Bacon was a famous English essayist, lawyer, philosopher and statesman who had a major influence on the philosophy of science. In his time Bacon wrote sixty different essays. He devoted himself to writing and scientific work. His experiences make him an expert on the topic of love. Francis Bacon’s essay Of Love is an essay about love. The purpose of the essay is to explain love and the affects it has on all kinds of people. The essay informs the reader that no matter what type of person you are love will have an effect on you.
There is no escaping it. Bacon states, “For there was never proud man thought so absurdly well of himself, as the lover doth of the person loved; and therefore it was well said, that it is impossible to love, and to be wise. ” The translation of this statement is that love makes us do crazy things. Bacon’s intended audience to his essay is everyone who has been in love or contemplated about being in love. No one type of audience is excluded from this essay because love affects everyone.
The author assumes that we all know what love is but he wants us to understand that love, whether contemplated by persons with strong characters or weak characters, love has the power to affect both. The example Bacon uses is Marcus Antonius who is described as voluptuous and inordinate, meaning given to excess. He also uses the example of Appius Claudius who is described as austere and wise. These two men are very different in character, but that does not matter. Love is going to affect them in one way or another.
Bacon states, “Love can find entrance, not only into an open heart, but also into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well kept. ” Bacon’s point of view is directly stated in the essay. It says, “By how much the more, men ought to beware of this passion, which loseth not only other things, but itself! ” What Bacon is trying to say is that mankind needs to be aware of the powers of love. The key problem that Bacon addresses is that people may think that because they possess certain characteristics that love cannot affect them or they think they have some sort of control over it.
Bacon wants his readers to understand that love is does not respect character. No matter who you are or who you think you are love will affect you one way or another throughout your lifetime. The thesis of the essay is stated clearly in the first sentence of the first paragraph. Bacon states, “You may observe, that amongst all the great and worthy persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient of recent) there is not one, that hath been transported to the mad degree of love: which shows that great spirits, and great business, do keep out this weak passion.
” One key passage in the essay states, “This passion hath his floods, in very times of weakness; which are great prosperity, and great adversity; though this latter hath been less observed: both which times kindle love, and make it more fervent, and therefore show it to be the child of folly. Bacon tries to explain here that love affects whether in good or bad times. Bacon also wants his reader to understand to keep love in its place instead of letting it rule other aspects of life.
The essay’s example of this is the key passage, “They do best, who if thy cannot but admit love, yet make it keep quarters; and sever it wholly from their serious affairs, and actions, of life; for if it check once with business, it troubleth men’s fortunes, and maketh men, that they can no ways be true to their own ends. ” There was no point in this essay that I could predict its organization. The organization is confusing because of the difficulty of the language. Bacon’s essay is written in the form of one big paragraph, so there are no signals to new sections of the essay.
Bacon speaks on the same topic throughout the entire essay. He uses descriptions of other people’s experiences as evidence as well as to support the thesis. Bacon’s tone in the essay is preachy. It is like that of a sermon because he uses examples for you to follow. If you cannot control your love or passions then keep love in its place. Don’t let your love effect or control the aspects of life that it doesn’t need to effect. The sentences and the vocabulary are very difficult. Words like, austere and reciproque are used.
These are obviously not everyday used words. Understanding the vocabulary makes understanding the entire essay easy. The key word that is recurred throughout the entire essay is the word love. Before the essay even begins a side note that Bacon has is, “The stage is more beholding to love, that the life of man. For as to the stage, love is ever matter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies; but in life it doth much mischief; sometimes like a siren, sometimes like fury. ” Here, Bacon is trying to get across that love goes through many different stages in life.
Bacon states in the last sentence of the essay, “Nuptial love maketh mankind; friendly love perfecteth it; but wanton love corrupteth, and embaseth it. ” Here Bacon is trying to get across to his reader’s that the love between a man and a woman make mankind, the love of friends perfects mankind, but immoral and cruel love corrupt mankind. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and13 of the Bible states, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ” And because love is all these things Bacon wants his readers to understand there is no escaping love. Love is all around us, no matter who you are love, affects us all. After reading this essay my opinion is the same as Bacon’s. I do believe there is no escaping love. It wasn’t until researching Bacon a little bit that I found that my interpretation of this essay was wrong.
Bacon preferred masculine friendship to heterosexual love, he states “although nuptial love maketh mankind, friendly love perfecteth it. ” His essay on heterosexual love is a critique of the “weak passion. ” He is speaking of love between men when he says “a crowd is not company and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love,” and “If a man have not a friend, he may quit the stage. ” This comes from his essay “Of Friendship. “
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