Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Essay: "Slaves." Seneca.

One-minute review: Plea for the humane treatment of slaves.

“ ‘They are slaves’—no, men. ‘They are slaves’—no, comrades. ‘They are slaves’—no,  humble friends. ‘They are slaves’—no, fellow slaves, if you remember that Fortune holds equal sway over both.”

“In consequence, when they cannot speak in the master’s presence, they speak about him.”

“But how many of those slaves are in fact his master!”

“Remember, if you please, that the man you call slave sprang from the same seed, enjoys the same daylight, breathes like you, lives like you, dies like you. You can as easily conceive  him a free man as he can conceive you a slave.”

“Treat your slave with compassion, even with courtesy; admit him to your conversation, your planning, your society.”

“ ‘He is a slave!’ But perhaps a free man in spirit.”

“…do not choose to have your slaves fear you, you use words to castigate them. A lash is to admonish dumb beasts.”

“They [the masters] profess they have been injured in order to work injury.”

The Art of the Personal Essay. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books. A Division of Random House, Inc. 1995.

No comments:

Post a Comment