Chapter

On Exile

Lieve Van Hoof

in Plutarch's Practical Ethics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583263
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723131 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583263.003.0006
On Exile

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This chapter is, as it were, the counterpart of On Feeling Good: in a kind of open letter, Plutarch here teaches that exclusion from politics does not have to lead to unhappiness. It is noteworthy, in this respect, that Plutarch exploited the theme of exile not, as other authors did, to discuss philosophy, but to discuss politics: he explicitly refuses to see exile as a turning point at which to opt for a philosophical life. At first sight, this is an altruistic project offering comfort to a man attached to politics with its concomitant honour and fame. Yet careful examination shows that Plutarch may be promoting his own life as well: if he did not make the same political career as some of his readers, he uses On Exile to present that as a sign not of weakness but of strength.

Keywords: On Exite; exile; On Feeling Good; letter; politics; philosophy; altruism; honour; career; author

Chapter.  14862 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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