Of Marriage and Single Life

Sir Francis Bacon in this essay discusses the positives and negatives attached to being single and married. He delves into the concepts of independence, liberty, and marriage. Bacon makes a point on the liberty that being single affords individuals who choose to live free of the constraints and obligations of marriage. Additionally, he points out that single men have the time and resources to contribute to society in benevolent ways. According to Bacon, single men are frequently “best friends, best masters, best servants.” Bacon also writes that being single can make a man “cruel and hardhearted” as he lacks the tenderness and love that married men frequently experience. Bacon then explores why wives chose to marry undesirable husbands and why he believes that only middle-aged men should marry at the appropriate time. Bacon acknowledges that independence offers single men with the opportunity and wealth to contribute to society, but it may also make them callous in certain circumstances. He also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of marriage throughout the essay. Additionally, the essay discusses the reasons for not marrying and the characteristics of married and single individuals. Additionally, it discusses the advantages and downsides of marriage and remaining single.


Additionally, the essay discusses the advantages and downsides of marriage versus remaining single. According to Bacon, single or childless males tend to benefit public life the most, as they bestow their goodwill on the public rather than on their family. Married men who are dads, on the other hand, are significantly more circumspect when considering the future, knowing that their descendants will have to cope with it. “Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants; but not always best subjects.” Bacon writes. Certain vocations are only appropriate for unmarried individuals. For instance, a pastor should abstain from marriage. If he has children, he will not be able to store money or affection to give to others. Unmarried males have more freedom to commit themselves to others, but they do not make the finest subjects because they can flee and are not obligated to submit to another’s rule for the sake of their families. Having a wife and children helps a man develop his softer feelings. Unmarried males may be more prosperous and so capable of making higher charitable contributions. They are, however, denied the gentle touch of feminine companionship. As a result, their behaviour is more harsh, vindictive, and vicious. They do not have the opportunity to reflect on their actions from a moral standpoint. Women who are devoted to their husbands frequently take pride in their virginity. If a wife believes her husband is wise, he will demand both her loyalty and obedience. A wife has little regard for an envious husband: “For a young man a wife is a mistress. For a middle-aged man she is a companion. For an old man, she serves as a nurse. This means that a man may marry at any age.” In short, Bacon weighs the benefits and drawbacks of marriage primarily from the perspective of society, with only a passing reference to personal benefits and drawbacks.

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