Sunday, March 13, 2011

Parallel - Friend as 'Another myself'

Again, Shake-Speare's Timon of Athens:

Flaminius says to Lucullus who claims to be a friend of Flaminius's master, Timon:
   "Thou disease of a friend, and not himself"!
 Timon of Athens  3.1.53

Bacon:  "A friend is another himself [i.e. a true friend of someone is so close to that person as to be indistinguishable form him. A dictum of classical origin]".
  Essay on Friendship

"Your King, whom he desires to make another himself, and to be one and the same thing with him".
  Bacon's  History of Henry VII

Comment:  The Arden editor interprets: "Lucullus is said to bear the same relation to a true friend ("himself") as a disease bears to a healthy body". This identifies 'himself' with Lucullus, if he had been a true friend. But on this reading the addition of "and not himself" is superfluous and flat. I have no doubt that Bacon's dictum point the true meaning which is that Lucullus is a disease upon Timon when he ought to be (if he were a true friend) Timon "himself".  Bacon called his friend Tobie Matthew "another myself".

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