Ans. Francis Bacon was born on 22 January 1561 in London. He was the son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, keeper of the great seal of Elizabeth I. Bacon studied at Cambridge University and at Gray's Inn and became a member of parliament in 1584. He served as attorney general and Lord Chancellor of England during the Renaissance, but is is best know for his contributions to philosophy.
(ii) What is your opinion about Bacon in the light of his character sketch?
Ans. Bacon is "One of those complex and contradictory natures which are the despair of the biographer" (Long). Bacon had a dual personality. He was a mental giant but a moral dwarf. Pope very aptly describes him, "The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind." I agree with J.F. Selby's statement: "He had a great brain; not a great soul."
(iii) What do the essays of Bacon tell about his age?
Ans. The essays of Bacon tell a lot about his age, Renaissance. These tell that this age has a love for classical learning and natural beauty. It has the spirit of inquiry, individualism and nationalism. It has pragmatic spirit, reformist zeal and Machiavellian approach to life.
(iv) What is aphorism?
Ans. Aphorism is a statement of truth or opinion expressed in a concise and witty manner. The term is often applied to philosophical, moral and literary principles. For example, "Studies serve for delight, for ornament and for ability". (Of Studies by Bacon)
(v) Why Bacon is called modern?
Ans. Comparing Bacon with his predecessors, Sidney, Lyly and Acham, it will be seen how widely he departs from the prolix methods of the day. He has evolved such a prose style which proves that English can be used as a medium of expression. Most of the lines from his essays have always been acclaimed as immortal quotes. That is why he is called modern.
(vi) Why is Bacon's style aphoristic?
Ans. Bacon's style is aphoristic because there is a terseness of expression and an epigrammatic brevity in his style. His sentences are brief, rapid and forceful. Indeed, his essays are replete the aphorism. For example, "A lie faces God and shrinks from man."/"Suspicions among thoughts are like bats among birds."
(vii) Why is Bacon's style different?
Ans. Comparing Bacon with his predecessors, Sidney, Lyly and Acham, it will be seen how widely he departs from the prolix methods of the day. He has evolved such a prose style which proves that English can be used as a medium of expression. Most of the lines from his essays have been acclaimed as immortal quotes. That is why Bacon's style is different.
(viii) Is Bacon's precision his wisdom?
Ans. Precision is the quality, condition, or fact of being exact, accurate and clear. Precision is the hallmark of good prose style not wisdom. Bacon's wisdom is, in fact, his understanding of the affairs of the world. However, precision makes Bacon's wisdom easy to understand for readers.
(ix) What do Bacon's essays teach?
Ans. Bacon's essays teach us worldly wisdom. Worldly wisdom means the kind of wisdom that is necessary for achieving worldly success. These teach us the art of how to get on this world, how to become rich and prosperous, how to rise to high positions, how to exercise one's authority and power so as to attain good results, how to gain influence, etc.
(x) Point out the Renaissance elements in Bacon's essays.
Ans. Pragmatical spirit, the Machiavellian approach to life, classical learning, love of beauty and sensuousness, spirit of humanism, curiosity and love of travel, wealth of metaphor and analogy, love of learning, emphasis on ethics and morality, and love of exploration are the Renaissance elements in Bacon's essays.
(xi) Bacon's essays are full of wisdom. How?
Ans. Bacon is a man of Renaissance and man is the subject of his essays. He is a philosopher, utilitarian and moralist. Therefore, "Beyond any other book of the same size in any literature they are loaded with the ripest wisdom of experience." (Hudson)
(xii) Bacon's style is pithy. How?
Ans. A pithy style is one that is brief, terse and vigorously expressive. Bacon is a master of pithy sentences in his essays. He ignores the unnecessary conceits and over crowded imagery of the Enthusiast. However, every sentence in his essays is pregnant with meaning and is capable of being expanded into several sentences. For example, "A mixture of a lie doeth ever add pleasure.".
(xiii) Why is Bacon called a worldly moralist?
Ans. Bacon is called a worldly moralist because his essays teach us worldly wisdom. Worldly wisdom means the kind of wisdom that is necessary for achieving worldly success. He teaches us the art of how to get on this world, how to become rich and prosperous, how to rise to high positions, how to exercise one's authority and power, and how to gain influence, etc.
(xiv) How are Bacon's essay an expression of brevity?
Ans. Brevity is to describe something great with the use of few words. Bacon possessed a remarkable ability to express deep weighty and profound thoughts with an economy of language. Most of his sentences can be expanded into whole paragraphs, and can be read like proverbs, maxims or aphorisms. For example, "A mixture of a lie doeth ever add pleasure".
(xv) What is the major difference between Russell's and Bacon's prose style?
Ans. Bacon exhibits a stuffy style of writing whereas as Russell exhibits a plain and tough style of writing. Bacon's style has low frequency words, third person pronouns, Greek and Latin words, and complex sentences whereas Russell's style has high frequency words, first person pronouns, Anglo-Saxon words and simple sentences.