Read our detailed study guide on the essay “Of Great Place” by Francis Bacon. Our study guide covers Of Great Place by Francis Bacon summary and analysis.
Of Great Place Summary
Bacon opens the essay by arguing that men at the great place, the authoritative place, is a servant of three things: the servant of the state, the servant of fame (popularity), and the servant of business. Hence, such people don’t have any sort of freedom at all. They don’t have a liberty to something for themselves, nor they can act freely, even they can’t spend their time with their own choice. Bacon says that it is a strange desire of a man to attain some power by losing his liberty. Bacon argues that man, in order to attain power over another man, loses power over himself. He is the puppet in the hands of authority.
Bacon, being realistic with an exceptional vision to see things, argues about how man reach the high position in politics. He says that if a man wants to reach a great place, he has to do certain things that are not morally right. It is through indignities that man comes to dignities. One has to corrupt himself and should compromise over certain things to make oneself a great man. But this position is not permanent resulting in a downfall. Bacon quotes the Latin proverb as “Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere”, which means that whenever a man realizes that he is no more the man he used to be, his motivation to live depressing and his brawl to persist ensues.
Moreover, Bacon comments on the man’s nature that no matter how great a man becomes, he seeks other’s opinion to become happy. They can’t judge themselves, however, they think themselves as what others think of them just to be on the top of hotlist.
Bacon writes that the great people are never willing to find faults in themselves. It is impossible for a man with money and power to see his faults, however, when it comes to grieving, they always try to cure it with money as soon as possible. Moreover, he says that the great men, being busy with their affairs and business, are strangers to themselves. They don’t have enough time to think about themselves, do not take care of their health. The only thing they care about is money and power until they have lost their health and then realizes that they too are humans.
Bacon, at this point, acts as a philosopher and writes that a man, in power and authoritative place, has the opportunity to do both, good and evil. Though evil is a curse, however, to do good things is more aspiring and will satisfy the conscience of a man. Bacon argues about the good thoughts and good dreams and says that good thoughts are better as they can easily be shaped into practical form. Furthermore, a man, in order to take reward from God, should do some good actions.
Bacon suggests that one should not only analyze his actions but should also analyze the actions of other people in his surroundings as well. One should take examples from his surrounding in order to know what is good and what is bad. A man, by seeing the best in others, should strictly judge himself. By comparing himself to others, he must find out his shortcomings. Likewise, he must also analyze the examples of those who carry evil with them. By this, he will be able to know what to avoid. Moreover, a man should consult his past experiences to learn good things from them to seek a better future.
He, furthermore, suggests the one should preserve the dignity of his office by occupying his place properly, not by challenging others. Likewise, one should also preserve the dignity of lower offices by permitting others to do their jobs without interfering. Moreover, one should always consult others and consider their advice whenever they need, similarly, one should not refuse the help whenever other offers.
Bacon, the great philosopher of the time, illustrates the three vices of great place: corruption, delays, roughness, and facility. He suggests that to avoid delays, a man should be punctual and appoint time. Likewise, for avoiding corruption, it is necessary that one should not only bind his and his servant’s hands from taking but also binds the suitor’s hands from the offering; moreover, tortures not only the bribers but also the bribes. Similarly, roughness in the attitude of an authoritative man makes his workers discontent. He should have kind behavior along with fear in other’s heart. Lastly, for the facility, Bacon calls it worst that bribery and advises that one shouldn’t go after the break.
Bacon, at the end of the essay, argues that a great place shows the true nature of a man. It reflects how he is. Some people prove to be better while others the worst. There are some people whom people think to be best for the empire when they are not emperors, that is by attaining power, they proved to be worst, however, Vespasanus was the only emperor, who by attaining power, changed for better. It is often observed that a man when sits in a great place becomes another man, however, he should learn to respect others as well. A man needs other to rise at a great place, but once he is elected, he should balance himself to represent the whole society.
Of Great Place Literary Analysis
Of Great Place by Francis Bacon is an argumentative essay that argues about the competition among the brilliant and higher respectable politician during his era. This essay by Francis bacon is comparatively long and focused on a subject-matter.
Brevity, directness, wit, and to the point arguments are one of the qualities that Bacon’s essay contain. The systematic way of writing makes bacon’s essay to move from one point to another logically. Moreover, the subject matters he discusses in his writing style are all based on the real life and the reader found an epigrammatic wisdom in it. With the use of Latin proverbs, Bacon adds insignia to his writings.
The central idea of the essay “Of Great Place” shows the reader position of men in great position. Francis Bacon argues about the life, manners, and obligations of the men at higher positions. Bacon starts the essay by demerits of the higher position. He illustrates that the men, for the sake of attaining power over other men, lose power over himself. A man involves himself in various immoral activities to attain higher place. In addition to this, after attaining the higher position, he devotes himself to his duties so much that he compromises on his health. The other demerit of higher position is that man becomes blind with money to see his faults and he seeks happiness by the opinion of others.
Bacon suggested to the people at a great place they must not only consider good examples around them and should learn good things from them, however, the must also consider the examples of those who carry ill with them and learn to avoid such things. Moreover, a man should always learn from the past experiences to have a fortunate future.
The end of the essay as usual consists of advice and suggestions by Bacon to combat with various vices of a higher position. He, furthermore, adds that the great position of man shows the true man. Some people prove to be benevolent while other proves to worst.
The wise man such Bacon not only shows the weaknesses and strengths of a great man to the readers but also advice the readers how to behave when hired in such positions. His essay shows that he was highly interested in the human nature and to write about them so that one can improve them.
More From Francis Bacon
- Of Adversity
- Of Ambition
- Of Death
- Of Delay
- Of Discourse
- Of Followers and Friends
- Of Friendship
- Of Great Place
- Of Love
- Of Marriage and Single Life
- Of Nobility
- Of Parents and Children
- Of Revenge
- Of Simulation and Dissimulation
- Of Studies
- Of Superstition
- Of Travel
- Of Truth
- Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature