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Creative EloquenceThe Construction of Reality in Cicero's Speeches$
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Ingo Gildenhard

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291557

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291557.001.0001

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The Good, the Bad, and the In‐Between

The Good, the Bad, and the In‐Between

Chapter:
(p.74) 3 The Good, the Bad, and the In‐Between
Source:
Creative Eloquence
Author(s):

Ingo Gildenhard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291557.003.0004

This chapter explores how Cicero construes, respectively, ‘the good’ (especially his theory of the vir bonus) and ‘the bad’ (especially his notion of immanes naturae and naturally born tyrants)—as well as those who fall in between, i.e. are neither naturally depraved nor endowed with impeccable goodness. For despite his penchant for portraying the world in black and white, Cicero also acknowledged (or was forced to acknowledge) shades of grey in political ethics. The last section of the chapter accordingly focuses on those moments where he forgoes the terms of his bipolar approach; notably, he was unable to fit Caesar into the stark dichotomy of thoroughly good or utterly evil, and the chapter shows how he uses Plato's conception of the tyrant as a great nature perverted to come to terms with the dictator.

Keywords:   Caesar, ethics, immanis natura, nature, Plato, the bad, the good, tyranny, tyrant, vir bonus

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