Plutarch's Letter to His Wife

             Plutarch is a loving, caring, and compassionate human being even though it may not seem obvious after one first reads his Consolation to His Wife, which talks about the death of his daughter Timoxena. He is a philosopher and as such is preaching his beliefs in this letter, however not to his wife even though it was supposedly written for her. He states many times throughout the letter (obviously not in the same way) that he does not have to "worry" about his wife having "...incontinence in her soul," which further proves the point that the letter was in fact intended for another audience besides his wife. Why? Because time and time again he says things about the nature of grief and sickness of the heart and tells the reader, ostensibly his wife, how it is not good to grieve. Yet Plutarch also points out that his wife needs no reminder or help in knowing how to deal with such events. Why then write a letter to his wife explaining how she should act at a time like this if it is in fact unnecessary? so as to inform those who do not already know.
             For example Plutarch is talking about how "silly women" come over to the house of the grief stricken for whatever the reason may be, and "fan and whet the grief" of the person "and prevent it from abating." He then wrote to his wife, "I know the good fight you lately fought when you supported Theon's sister and resisted women who were charging in with wails and shrieks, simply to pile fire upon fire." He further analyses this situation and gives other analogies; the main one being that by showing the person who is grieving for their loss an outsider's pity and sorrow for that same person will only worsen that person's their pain, e.g. "When people see a friend's house aflame they extinguish it with all possible speed and strength, but when souls are ablaze they only add to the kindling." By implying this he means for the reader to do the opposite. Then after telling his wife all these things ...

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Plutarch's Letter to His Wife. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 05:46, January 21, 2017, from