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The On The Good Life Essay

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The concept of living “the good life” means something different for everyone. There is a general understanding that living “the good life” is associated with unyielding happiness and lasting satisfaction. The exact meaning of this desired life was pondered by thinkers and philosophers for hundreds of years. They constructed principals of behavior, thought, and obligation that would categorize a person as “good”. Although some of these ancient philosophies about “the good life” had overlapping ideas, their concepts varied widely. This contrast of ideas can be examined through two major characters in two famous works: Aeneas in “The Aeneid” and Socrates in “The Apology”. Aeneas exemplifies the philosophy that the direct route to “the good life" is through faith, trust in the Gods, and family, while Socrates in “The Apology” emphasizes free will, and vast knowledge of life. Aeneas shows great commitment to the Gods throughout his mission in “The Aeneid”. He believes this devotion and trust in the divine is the meaning of “the good life”. He is so devoted to his duty that he introduces himself to strangers by stating his service to the Gods. He states,
"I am Aeneas, duty-bound, and known
Above high air of heaven by my fame,
Carrying with me in my ships our gods
Of hearth and home, saved from the enemy.
I look for Italy to be my fatherland,
And my descent is from all-highest Jove" (Aeneid, 1.519-524)
Aeneas makes rash life decisions and gives up his own personal desires
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