Cicero: on Friendship Analysis

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Hannah Bright
Dr. Ronald B. Thomas
First-Year Symposium
12 November, 2012
Cicero
Aristotle once said, “Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” There are many things that go into the process of friendship. Some people deal with friendship one way while others deal with it in another way. Cicero had a lot to say about the different aspects of friendship in his time, but how would he view modern friendship? Some friendships Cicero may not be proud of; like the common relationships that are forced on in a classroom or work place and the lack of allowing nature to take control and make the friendships that are meant to happen. However, Cicero would be happy with the way the higher level friendships have developed in virtue and value.

Cicero dwelled on the fact that friendship must have common factors. Friends should share “the greatest agreement of desires and interests and opinions (Cicero, 7).” Modern friendship has turned into something that makes “common people” feel like they have to be friends. For example, in the classroom or workplace it is encouraged to make friends with everyone that you are involved with daily. Does building a friendship based on common surroundings make a good one? Cicero would say no. He would say that friendship has to be built on something more than just a desire for common interests like a job. It must agree on things that build a relationship such as these desires, interests, and opinions. There is no way that Cicero would be happy with the encouragement to build false relationship only on the grounds that someone works in the same place as someone else. He is not saying that you need to be enemies with these people because he knows the importance of common friendship. He knows that if you were to take friendship out of the world then “no home or city could stand, (and) no farms would stay in cultivation (Cicero, 9).” There is nothing wrong with a temporary friendship but he says, “If mutual advantage is what...
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