How could I summarize Sir Francis Bacon's essay "Of Praise"?
This short essay by Francis Bacon focuses on the follies of excessive praise, and the often nefarious motivations behind giving it, in addition to the harmful consequences of freely accepting it. Bacon explores this theme by categorizing different types of praise, and analyzing the implications of the sources of praise. “Praise is the reflection of virtue,” Bacon opens, “but it is as the glass or body, which giveth the reflection.” Praise, therefore, is the vehicle through which we may see how our actions stack up, rather than an honest description in itself. In other words, any praise received should not be taken at face value; the nature of the praise should first be examined. Bacon states that praise from “the common people…is commonly false and naught,” because commoners are impressed by even the most trivial virtues. Whether or not this is objectively true, the fact remains that one must always understand the status of the praise-giver before taking the...
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