Analysis of Cicero's Laelius de Amicitia

1267 Words Jul 6th, 2005 6 Pages
Mortalitas et Amicitia

Cicero 's De Amicitia brings a unique perspective to the topic of friendship and how it relates to death. The word amicitia comes from the Latin root word amor which is translated to mean "love". In this day and age the word friendship has taken on a slightly different meaning from the ancient meaning. Cicero 's De Amicitia seeks to define what friendship is, its characteristics and principles. He has challenged us to reconsider what constitutes a true friend.
Upon observing a typical friendship it becomes clear to us that this relationship is actually devoid of true love; the love in which Cicero speaks of. A genuine friendship is a rare and beautiful thing; a mutual relationship formed between two virtuous
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"In the face of a true friend a man sees as it were a second self." If a friend is merely your second self and you love this friend as much as you love yourself than friendship could be thought of as a narcissistic partnership. He stresses that we should only want the very best for our friend; a willingness to make sacrifices to show your friend truly how much you love them. "I am now speaking of the common or modified form of it, though even that is the source of pleasure and profit, but of that true and complete friendship which existed between the select few who are known to fame. Such friendship enhances prosperity, and relives adversity of its burden by halving and sharing it." So why is it that we mourn at the passing of a friend?
It is not until death that we are truly free, for death is only the passing of our bodies. The human form serves as a shell that houses the soul. Our time on this earth is simply a means to an end, a chance for our soul to gather wisdom and advance forward towards the state of total enlightenment. It is then that we can transcend our human form and truly become free. Our other half, our friend has now moved onto a wondrous place. We may mourn the loss of what could be considered another version of ourselves but should we not also be joyful that a part of us has moved on to such a great place. Death should not be feared or mourned for if we truly loved that person then we would want only the best