In “Of Marriage and Single Life” ,Bacon highlights the differences between the married life and the single’s life and the various advantages and disadvantages of the same.Bacon starts his essay with a sudden statement. The statememt clearly depicts that marriage is an impediment to great fortune and luck.Bacon supports his argument by telling a fact that ; most of the works that helps the society is done by non-married or childless men.In response,these bachelors married public and endowed their affection and life to it.the burden of married life according to Bacon, a married man has a family to raise and take care of.He is totally committed to providing security to them, but such commitment leaves him unable to take up any enterprise whether good or bad,noble or wicked.There is another kind of men those who are unmarried yet,they spend their lives caring about themselves and they are not apprehensive of future time.
There is a few people ,who are married but consider their wives and children as mere bills of charges and as burden in their own freedom .There are also some wealthy people who wittingly decide to not to reproduce or have children in fear of losing their riches to their heirs.To them material possessions are more important than having a family.They refuse to see the needs and benefits of a family because they are only influenced by the fears of losing their wealth.There are some foolish covetous men who believes that having no children is a pride and they consider themselves as richer.
Bacon explores the themes of independence,liberty and marriage throughout his essay.He also comments on the liberty that being single provides individuals who wish to live free from the restraints and responsibilities of marriage.However most men choose to remain single for the sake of liberty that a single life allows. Bacon says that unmarried men are best friends,best masters and best servants ,but they do not make the best citizens as they have so great sense of freedom that they tend to run away from responsibilities.The single life is best suited for a clergy man because he can be more charitable as he does not have any needs to satisfy. For magistrates the situation is indifffernt because if they are corrupted it makes them servants who are worse than wives.For soldiers it is often an emotional support to think of wives and children before going in to battle .That is why bacon says that the dislike of marriage among Turks makes the vulgar soldiers even more so .
It is one’s wife and children that provides them with a moral understanding of their behaviours and conducts whereas single men lack the empathetic and sensitive side that comes from genuine companionship therefore single men tend to be cruel and hard hearted .A grave man with traditional beliefs is often a loving husband they are not tempted by the pleasures of infidelity and remain honest and loyal to their wives and marriage.Here bacon gives the example of Ulysses who valued his wife more than an immortal life.Women are often proud of their chastity and a wife will always remain chaste and obedient if she thinks that her husband is wise and not jealous.
Bacon pays tribute to wives in his eassay as for a young man, a wife serves the purpose of a mistress,in the middle age she is a companion and to the old man she is a nurse.Bacon observes that bad husbands often have good wives.He says that this may be because it makes the husband’s kindness more valuable or because the wife takes pride in her patience in dealing with him.Therfore a man can reasonably decide when he would like to get married.Bacon here quotes a philosopher and mathematician who answered the question of when a man should marry and said -”a young man not yet,an elder man not at all”.
Bacon compares the advantages and disadvantages of single and married life through different view points.He puts forward the pros and cons of marriage in terms of how it is viewed by society and how it affects an individual.even though he enlists the burden and limitation of marriage he extols the benefit of marriage and how it shaped a person.Bacon insists that having a family can make a man generous and merciful and it teaches a form that singlemen lack and thus are more cruel and reckless.