“What was Horace’s concept of personal ethical cause and effect?”

Horace wasn’t a very optimistic man. We see this in his writings, he talks about death quite often. And he keeps coming to the conclusion “that there isn’t a reason for living.” He decides that life is useless, pointless and there really isn’t any hope. He believes that we all will die one day and when we die there isn’t anything that differentiates us from anyone else. In other words, when we die, death equalizes us. No matter what good deeds we have done or what sins we have committed, if we are rich or poor, we become equal.  Our once material possessions that separated us are gone. And we become under the authority and mercy of Pluto: the god of the underworld.

Even though Horace believes all this he still encourages good behavior. His philosophy was the “Golden Mean”. We see this portrayed very well in his poems, especially concerning wealth. He believed that you shouldn’t strive to be wealthy. There was no point in his opinion. “Why save all this wealth for some heir that can’t be trusted?” Instead, he encouraged the stoic way of living. And he shows us what that is by telling us about the ant. The ant works in the summer and saves her crops for the winter. So when it’s winter she doesn’t have to go outside and work. He believed this was a much better way of living then someday retiring.

What Horace meant by the “golden mean” was going through life in a tranquil way. Enjoy what you do have. Have just the right amount of balance of things in life. Not too much, not too little.

To sum it up Horace didn’t think there was an ethical cause or effect. It was all random or the gods playing with you. Ultimately he decided that nothing mattered. And if nothing matters then what is the point? There isn’t one. And that is interesting why his philosophy was the golden rule. 



English, Essay 80.


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