1/23/2019

Aphoristic style of Bacon : an essay on it.



Aphoristic style is a terse expression which convays quotable quality like a proverb -expressing ideas in a fewest possible words. In the style every sentence is pregnant with practical thought and is capable of being explained in several sentences. Francis Bacon in his essays uses his style to say the most in the fewest words, displaying his great talent for condensation.

For example, in “Of Great Place” Bacon says , “All rising to great is by a winding stair;” This line is epigrammatic in the sense that it is very terse , witty  and pointed expression. In few words the author expresses a string of thoughts which he explicates in the following parts if the essay. According to Bacon , attaining great place is laborious and painful. Sometimes the process is full of humailiation. The idea of sacrificing dignity for the sake of attaining high place is pointed expression. Bacon very skillfully uses the image of 'winding stair’. The phrase 'winding stair’ refers to crooked methods or roundabout ways of attaining great place. It needs to employ cunning and duplicity to achieve a high position. Thus it is an epigrammatic expression which very tersely describes the Machiavellian practice of the time. Moreover, the most practical and somewhat shocking advice, expressed very tersely, is the way Bacon suggests manipulating to gain high position: “...........and if there be factions, it is good to side a man's self whilst he is in the rising”. Thus, “Of Great Place” epigrammatically epitomizes proverbial wisdom.

“A mixture of lie doth ever add pleasure” in “Of Truth” is another example of aphoristic style of Bacon. Here Bacon wants to convey the idea that the statement of a truth becomes more attractive when mixed with a lie in it. Thus , whenever we want to defend a lie, we would quote his sentence from Bacon. “But it is not the lie , that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in and settleth in it, that doth the hurt.” Here wishes to convey the idea that a lie, that settles down in the mind causes much harm because such a lie will keep working upon the mind and will have long-term effect. A lie that one hears and forgots will not cause any injury to a man.

The essay, “Of Marriage and Single Life”, shows the aphoristic quality of Bacon's style in a more striking manner. Here are some if the sentences that are eminently quotable. “He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.” Bacon has expressed the idea here most effectively and memorably. “Unmarried man are best friends, best masters , best servents but not always best subjects.” This is an excellent summing up of the case. “Wives are young man's Mistresses, companions of middle aged and old man's nurses.”  Here aphorism combines wisdom with wit.

His aphoristic style makes Bacon an essayist of high distinction. Aphorism gives to his essays singular force and weight. No one has ever produced a greater number of closely packed and striking formulas, loaded with practical wisdom. Many of them have become current as proverbs. Bacon's essays constitute a handbook of practical wisdom. They enclose in them shortest maxims and astonishing treasure of insight.

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