Bacon utilized two primary Renaissance principle while writing his essays to address rhetorical questions and seek knowledge.
Bacon emphasizes the necessity of having a real friend to survive in this world by stating the benefits through and through the essay.
(Body Paragraph) Main Point 1
Bacon begins the article by highlighting that there are three fruits of friendship. The first fruit of friendship has been described as the ability to share one’s burdens and sorrows with another.
Main Point 2
The second fruit of friendship is healthful and sovereign for the understanding.
Main Point 3
The third fruit of friendship is aiding, and bearing apart, in all actions and occasions.
The purpose of writing the essay was to show the audience the importance of having a person who would share all the worries and give good counsel at the time of need.
Being a pragmatic and empirical thinker, Bacon has utilized two primary Renaissance principles. These principles being Sepantia and Eloquentia which have influenced Bacon’s style of writing as his search for knowledge and rhetoric style can be seen in all of his essays. The essay selected for analysis is based on Francis Bacon’s work titled On Friendship which highlights the impact of such a bond. The article has been stylistically written and covers the aspects of friendship which according to Bacon are essential. The essay contains passionate statements along with analogies and is enriched with examples of historical figures. Bacon emphasizes the necessity of having a real friend to survive in this world by stating the benefits through and through the essay.
At the beginning of the essay, Bacon asserts the significance of friendship by saying that “whatsoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.” (Bacon 1871). The author’s reference to ‘wild beast’ and ‘god’ shows that it is unnatural for any individual to want to live without having any friends. Survival can become difficult if a person is unable to share his worries and burdens with another. Bacon further expands on the importance of friendship by saying that “the world is but a wilderness” (Bacon 1871). In addition to stating the significance of friendship, the author then proceeds to the fruits of friendship. The first fruit of friendship has been described as the ability to share one’s burdens and sorrows with another. According to Bacon, this can be only done if an individual has been blessed with a true friend who would listen to everything. At the same time, Bacon claims that people tend to think clearly when they isolate themselves from the others or go into the wilderness. He gives the examples of spiritualists who like to cut themselves away from their society to have peace of mind. To support his argument, Bacon mentions the names of few historical figures such as “Epimenides the Candian, Numa the Roman, Empedocles the Sicilian, and Apollonius of Tyana.” (Bacon 1871). While asserting that such people needed solitude to think about important matters, Bacon adds that to share one’s worries with another, lessens their grief and brings about immense joy which is otherwise unattainable.
In addition to sharing one’s worries with another, Bacon proceeds to the second fruit of friendship and says “friendship is healthful and sovereign for the understanding, as the first is for the affection.” (Bacon 1871). He further expands on this statement by explaining that having a friend allows a person to share their thoughts that might be the cause of worry. A friend can help in bringing about clarity in thoughts and end any confusion by giving advice. However, the author also adds that the information offered by a friend might not always be helpful. But by expressing one’s thoughts to another, the person can think over everything in an orderly manner and better understand his situation. Furthermore, Bacon clarifies the difference between someone who gives accurate advice and a person who takes to flattery. Bacon asserts that knowing the difference between the two helps in the long run. Therefore, an individual should know which person to confide his problems in so that the counselor doesn’t face any difficulties in assessing the situation and presenting a solution.
Lastly, Bacon mentions the third fruit of friendship which he states “aid, and bearing apart, in all actions and occasions.” While the first fruit is based on affections and the second fruit talks about understanding, the last fruit has been compared to a pomegranate that has a vast number of kernels inside it. Similarly, the purpose of friendship is to help others and be a part of everything that the friend encounters. Bacon concludes the significance of the essay by saying that there are many things that a person is unable to do by himself, certain situations that he cannot face on his own. For such scenarios, it is best to have a friend by one’s side who acts the part of a guide, shares all the worries and provides better counsel in the time of need.
In conclusion, Bacon’s purpose of writing the essay was to show the audience the importance of having a person who would share all the worries and give good counsel at the time of need. Bacon asserts throughout the essay that having such a person is a blessing as it becomes challenging to face the world on one’s own. There have been examples of historical figures which showed true friendship by standing with their companions and giving the right kind of advice whenever asked for it. Bacon also claims that though there are people who wish to remain in solitude that is only to seek answers to philosophical matters. If a person wants to be able to stand through all the struggles that the world throws towards his or her way then having a friend to confide in is essential.
Bacon, Francis. 1871. “Of Friendship.” The Essays.