If someone asks me right now what would I die for, I can easily give an answer. Obviously, everyone would say about one’s family and loved people. I completely agree about that. Nevertheless, I would like to look deeper thinking about the things that can make me have willing to die for.
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English essayist Joseph Addison in his tragedy Cato shows us a great example of the man who would rather die for his ideals than submit the contrary position.
It is a very complicated question, indeed. Is it truly possible to compromise yourself, to neglect the own benefits or to give up a part of yourself in order to make something valuable or, vice versa, to please your boss? I believe no one can give an answer instantly. Joseph Addison describes the very interesting principles of the man’s life base on the position of the public benefits’ protection and the readiness to to sacrifice his life to the ideals.
The tragedy of Addison was written in 18th century and captured the imagination of a wide range of public. The work had both historical and philosophical significance as well as the main hero Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis (95-46 B.C.) was a real historical figure who resisted the tyranny of Caesar. The tragedy is based on his last days until the death in order to protect the ideals.
Cato is an icon of republicanism and a symbol of Roman republican liberty. Through his work, Addison emphasizes the sociability and sensibility about what is worth for others and spreads the culture of politeness. A dramatic death of “the greatest soul that ever warm’d a Roman breast” shows the meaning of one’s life in the context of the whole country’s existence or perish (Addison).
Syphax draws attention to Cato’s “piercing eyes” that can see the essence of things and “discerning our frauds” (Addison). Cato offers his own vision of the universal rule when “a day, an hour, of virtuous liberty is worth a whole eternity in bondage” (Addison).
Cato is not afraid to stand against the powerful Caesar even if leads to his death. Isn’t it the noblest end to die for the sake of ideals? History knows many examples of such desperation and courage. However, in the nowadays reality it is difficult to find the person who would die for sure in order to protect some principles and ideas. As for me, I couldn’t stand when I see the injustice.
I can’t stand the injustice in my country. I can stand seeing the thousands of unemployed. I can’t stand seeing children suffer. So, I would protect the humanity and my ideals even to the death. I am sure of the each life and voice importance and value.
In Act IV, scene 4, Lucius tells Cato about the Caesar’s virtuosity in the humanity and Cato responses that “such popular humanity is treason” (Addison). For Cato, the public benefits are the most valuable issue. Therefore, he is ready to sacrifice his life to freedom’s cause. Cato’s life is an example of Stoic principle that only the good man is free and the wick man is a slave.
Self-defence made in an aggressive way would be the cause of misunderstanding. I am sure of necessity of the humanity and respect of the other people’s opinion.
However, I insist upon the importance of personal position and readiness to protect the ideals and, in some cases, even to die for it. Nobody can rule the other people’s life, and especially to do it from position of violence. I would die for sure protecting my family’s freedom. Family is the most valuable part of human life.
Cato’s death opened many debates. However, it led to the significant consequences. This suicide can be interpreted form different positions. It was a manifestation of his will to follow the ideals. Cato couldn’t live in a world of tyranny and negation of the individual liberty.
It was the last act of defiance against Caesar and his policy. Cato shows that he would rather die than accept Caesar’s way of policy. In this case, Cato’s death can be treated as symbol of moral victory over Caesar. The Roman liberty and the whole republic perished with Cato.
With its theme of liberty and resistance to tyranny, Cato inspired many eighteenth-century philosophers. In this period, the tragedy had influenced republicans in Britain, Europe and colonies in North America. Moreover, Cato still has its significance of the example that convinces us of an importance of the personal beliefs’ defence.
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Living in the age of multiply possibilities, people, however, got used to neglect their chances to think freely and to defend their choice.
Or, perhaps, many of them just don’t have those principles to stand up for. Thinking about my future and the future of my family, I would die for the chance to have free live in a country that states on the position of personal rights and rule dependence, humanity and the freedom to choose who you want to be.
Addison, Joseph. Cato. Gutenberg.org, 10 Mar. 2010. Web.