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Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans


Stoic Theory: Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans

Although Cato might have been afraid (i.e., experienced the emotion of fear) just like all other people (Domitius, etc.), he overcame his fear and did not let the fear influence his actions.

This statement gives a proper description of Cato during the fracas in Rome. In actual sense, it is worth noting that his character in this scenario, as given by Stoic, provides an analysis of the real Cato the Young. To argue that Cato was afraid but courageous enough to overcome his fear, one needs to search the entire life history of Cato right from his childhood. The character he displays here is actually a representative of his actual self- a man who was always ready to fight the challenges ahead. For instance, we are told that as a young boy, he was so popular among his peers and even among the older age groups for his courage. In one scenario, for instance, we are told that Cato was always preferred as the best Player of ‘Troy’ the game, as it was always expected he would not yield to pressure, would not withstand losing the game and would do anything possible to ensure that his side wins.

Secondly, Cato’s ability to overcome fear is an actual representation of his self and his character. For instance, he was ready to fight back any person or challenge facing him. This characteristic of Cato seems to be deeply rooted in him, as it was evident right from his childhood. For instance, we are told that at the age of 14, Cato asked his teacher why the dictator was oppressing and killing innocent people every day. The teacher replied that no one could face the dictator because people hate and fear him. In his opinion, Cato asked the teacher to hand him a sword and allow him kill the dictator to deliver and liberate his people. In this example, it is clear that Cato, as a young man, was afraid of the dictator, but would still face him if need be.

Similarly, in this case, we can see that Cato is afraid to some extent, but is courageous enough o face the challenges and overcome his fears. Actually, it is a characteristic he had portrayed since he was a young man.



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