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Strategic Differences: Seneca and Plutarch on Controlling Anger

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In a span of less than a century, Seneca and Plutarch both wrote works arguing against anger. This article studies these texts as speech acts, that is, as discourses through which the authors, by various means, seek to produce a certain effect in their readers. The comparison of several parallel passages from Seneca's On Anger and Plutarch's On the Control of Anger with regard to genre, philosophical technicality, rhetorical strategies, and specific argumentation brings to the fore how Seneca, in his plea for the eradication of anger, instills a concept of virtue substantially different from what most Romans would be familiar with, whereas Plutarch promotes the control of anger as an important part of the way a gentleman presents himself in a civilised society.

Affiliations: 1: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Instituut Klassieke Studies, Blijde-Inkomststraat 21, 3000 Leuven, Belgium


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