Of marriage and single life
I. A brief summary
As we all know, Francis Bacon, the chief figure of the English Renaissance, is a very famous as an English statesman, essayist, and philosopher of science. Of Marriage and Single Life is one of his most well-known essays, which analyzes and compares marriage with single life in different aspects, such as characters, public service and personal qualities. While, there seems to be not so comprehensive from people’s perspective today. Bacon’s basic opinion is that marriage is good to both individual and society. His analysis is taken step by step. At first, a single man believes that a man with wife and children, who are obstacles to both great courses and little trivial, is the slave of fortune. Especially some miser men think children are the bills of charges and will reduce their riches. And foremost reason is that to be single is to be free, while wife and children are the bonds to his freedom. However, a single life has some good aspects. “Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, and best servants.” But single life could also make a man indifferent, facile and corrupt for judges and magistrates, coward for soldiers without combat power and perseverance. Marriage makes a man be responsible, tender, enthusiastic and warm-hearted. Finally, Bacon pointed that “wives are young men’s mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men’s nurses”. Even though a wife marries a bad husband, marriage offers a good chance for husband to correct themselves.
This essay considers "wives" and children (assuming his readers are male) and balances their advantages against their disadvantages in such a way that it's difficult to decide whether marriage is a good or a bad idea. Bad marriages, however, he suggests can be analyzed more easily by their effects upon the women in them. Bacon first states with apparent confidence that ‘He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune, for they are...
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