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The virtues of man Essay

The virtues of man

After reading Cicero’s writings, one cannot think but agree with what the author wishes to convey to his readers. Every page was virtues and ideals about life in general. The main focus of this narrative was the ideal. What was great about this piece was that even though Cicero’s focus was the ideal, he did not forget/remove the reality from what he wishes to happen. The concept of ideal in this piece could be easily grasped if people would incorporate the virtues that Cicero has comprehensively explained at the start of each ‘book’.

Cicero started defining his concept of the ‘ideal life’ with the virtue of Moral Goodness. I would not elaborate more on the definition of this for I know that we all have read and understood the narrative already. He elaborated on the fact that Moral Goodness is the foundation of the ‘ideal life’. He did not deny the fact that human nature exists. However, he has explained that though human nature has a strong urge to overcome our ways, it could be controlled – or rather divert that urge to a more positive approach, which should be morally right and just.  One’s foundation of good

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faith rests upon the virtues of justice, charity or kindness, and sharing. A person must not be self centered because he/she too have duties to his/her neighbor and he has extended this to those people who have done something wrong to us also. Disputes cannot be avoided; one can enter in a dispute if his reason of doing such is to obtain peace and not for the sake of revenge.

Cicero had an interesting explanation about promises that when put into context proves right otherwise, if misused, could be a fallacy. He explained that promises shouldn’t be kept if it could be harmful to the person. That sometimes defying something for the sake of a person’s duty or being morally correct is the just thing to do.

After talking about duties, he then described roles of each member of society should be molded into more focusing on the family. He explained that children must not imitate their parents especially their faults but instead should learn from them. He pointed out that money is not the most important inheritance one can get from his/her parents but the important lessons and values that was passed on to them. The elderly should spread their wisdom and knowledge to their friends, grand children, and the like and not be embarrassed that they have come to a certain age.

One can live with the concept of beauty but what we do not know is that there are two types of beauty: physical beauty and the virtue of dignity. Beauty, for both men and women, should be expressed through neatness in attire, behavior, and attitudes.

Cicero’s ideal life is also founded on the basis or hard work or labor. Man cannot enjoy his luxuries, have a home, and have a profession if he/she did not earn it. We all know the cliché ‘work to live’ but Cicero thinks otherwise. A person should work, still with the virtue of what is morally good, but at the same time should be able to relax and enjoy life at its finest.

In conclusion, his writings could be summarized by two points: the basis of his ideal life is a person’s virtues and his/her relationships with his/her peers, family, friends, and the government. These foundations intertwine and are incorporated in his idea of what’s ideal.

Works Cited

Cicero, Marcus. De Officiis (On Duties). Trans. Walter Miller. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1913.


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