What is the true happiness philosophy promises Boethius it leads to?

Lady Philosophy tells Boethius that true happiness can only be achieved through things that cannot be governed by chance. Specifically, this means focusing on one's powers of reasoning, which give access to the beauty, mystery, and complexity of the universe. Happiness lies in what is eternal and transcendent, not in what is earthly and ephemeral.

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Lady Philosophy diagnoses Boethius's sadness as arising from too strong an attachment to the things of this world. Boethius was so obsessed with wealth, power, and social status that when those things were taken away from him, he immediately fell into a pit of despair.

Lady Philosophy criticizes Boethius...

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Lady Philosophy diagnoses Boethius's sadness as arising from too strong an attachment to the things of this world. Boethius was so obsessed with wealth, power, and social status that when those things were taken away from him, he immediately fell into a pit of despair.

Lady Philosophy criticizes Boethius for seeking happiness in things that are brought about purely by chance. It was only by good fortune that Boethius attained such a high position in life. By the same token, it was by an incredible stroke of bad fortune that Boethius had everything taken away from him and was slung in prison.

As fortune waxes and wanes, it makes no sense to seek happiness in the things that it provides, for it can just as easily take them away. Far better, then, says Lady Philosophy, to seek happiness in what cannot be taken away from us: our reason, our wisdom, our hearts. Only they can provide us with the means to achieve true happiness in our lives.

Boethius may be cooped up in a prison cell with a hideous execution lying in store for him, but the powers-that-be can never take away that "inner citadel," that part of oneself immune from the vagaries of fortune. And it is to that inner citadel that Boethius must retreat. Only then will he be able to rise above the contingent circumstances of his life and attain what is true and eternal. Only then will he be in a position to experience true happiness.

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