Read our detailed notes below on the essay “Of Love” by Francis Bacon. Our notes cover Of Love by Francis Bacon summary and explanation.
Of Love by Francis Bacon Summary
Bacon opens the essay by claiming that the love or romance shown on the stage, plays, and theatres is highly unrealistic, far from reality. On stage, love is portrayed as a noble trait leading to joy and excitement. It often brings tragedy and sorrow. However, in the real life, love does the real disasters by bringing dark and foreboding. History has a record that all the great, noble, and worthier man who has done something great in the life have refused this week passion and keep themselves and their business away from such things.
Bacon illustrates the example of Marcus Antonius, a member of Roman royalty who was given a chance to rule over 1/3rd of the empire, and Appius Claudius, the second member of royalty who was given the other 1/3rd of empire, to explain the destructing effects of love. The former was the man of ambition and power, however, amorous, impulsive, and restrained. He had little or no control over his heart and wandered in pursuit of love and lust. While Claudius was a sober, sage and wise man of great wisdom. He never brought himself disgrace while rushing towards quixotic desire.
Bacon quotes the Greek philosopher Epicurus who promoted self-control, self-discipline, and restraint in one’s life. He warned his followers against chasing the worldly desires and says that “we are sufficient for one another”. By this, he conveys a message that one must live his life fully, without indulging into conflicts with others. One should not avenge other and must restrain himself from other such misdeeds. He expresses his disproval for a man of great worth who bowed in front of a woman he loves and makes themselves small and miserable.
Bacon, furthermore, talks about the unfettered love that destroys the man. He says that such love devalues the man and make them insignificant in front of others. Moreover, Bacon argues about romantic poetry in which the writer exaggerates the beauty of his beloved unnecessary. To him, such exaggeration is only suitable for romance and writing; they are not applicable in practical life. A paramour who detriments his discriminating influence to transfer flattering words to his woman evidently negotiates with his intellect, and judging power. A proud man will never make his beloved to rule over him by pouring sugarcoated words on her. For Bacon, a wise man must not love as it is impossible to be wise and to love at the same time.
In an unrequited love, the praises and compliment of a man for his beloved woman appear to be a weakness of his character. Moreover, when her woman doesn’t feel responding the paramour, she treats his love as a pitiable weakness of his character. The love of man can result in two things: either the woman will respond to him in the same way or will create an inward feeling of insignificant in a woman for the man. So, Bacon warns, the man before falling in love should understand one thing that it doesn’t harm anything but man’s self-esteem.
Those who see the world as nothing but a place to fulfill their carnal desires destroy themselves. They losses both affluence and wisdom in search or sexual pleasures in the world. Bacon argues that such passions are overwhelmed in the period of prosperity than of adversity. Carnal pleasures get accentuated in the time of both happiness and distress and can be called as “child of folly”. However, these sensual pleasure when are uncontrolled can lead to the destruction of business, wealth, and health.
The army men seem to have a special attraction for love as they have for the wine. Bacon discusses the men’s nature and argues that men have a special inclination towards love for other. He makes his love universal by expanding it towards everyone, no matter such love gentle and kind and people who have some spiritual and religious belonging have this kind of love. In the end, Bacon says that the love that arises from marriage is the root cause of mankind’s creation, while love in friendship makes it perfect but lust corrupts it and embarrass it.
Of Love by Francis Bacon Literary Analysis
The essay “Of Love” is an argumentative essay written by Sir Francis Bacon. Bacon in this essay argues about the various ills of falling in love. He particularly argues about the carnal pleasures and its consequences.
Sir Francis Bacon is a well-known English Essayist and philosopher. He devoted himself to writing along with scientific work and wrote sixty essays. This essay, Of Love, is regarding the love. Love, in today’s world, have influenced a large number of people. The objective of Bacon in this essay is to demonstrate the effect of love on all kinds of people. No matter who you are, you will fall in love with somebody and this love will definitely have an effect on you, and sometimes love makes one do senseless things.
Bacon then talks about the sensual love that drains one’s intelligence. For some people, love is nothing but a source of Carnal pleasure. However, such love if lasted long has hard consequences.
Bacon then talks about the noble and kind love the spiritual people possess. They don’t love a single person or group of people but the entire universe. They are more inclined towards every creation in the universe. Another kind of noble love that Bacon argues about is the love between husband and wife. This love is further dignified with the love of friends.
Conciseness, straightforwardness, wittiness, and compact opinions are the merits that Bacon’s essay cover. The methodical way of inscription makes his essay logical and rational. The subject matter that he argues about is taken from real life experiences and is a hot topic of discussion in every time. The readers find his essay more welcoming and pleasurable. The use of the Latin proverb in his essay shows his high knowledge regarding the Latin language, and it also adds colors to his writing.
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