4 BC – AD 65) was a tutor and later advisor to the emperor Nero. He was a poet, philosopher and statesman in the Roman Stoic philosophy. He was eventually caught up in a conspiracy to murder the emperor Nero and was ordered to commit suicide by the emperor himself. Prior to his death, he was concerned with the issue of human emotions, mostly regarding anger. He wrote the extract 'Anger, Mercy and Revenge 'regarding his opinions on anger. This essay will explore Seneca' views on anger and will critically evaluate those views to determine whether his views are compatible with modern day society.
Firstly, anger is an emotion felt when one has been done an unjustly wrong to oneself. However Seneca believes that anger is not part of our nature because he quotes "[a] human being's nature, then, doesn't seek payback; it follows that anger itself is not in accord with nature, since it does seek payback."(Seneca p.)He describes the effects of anger as akin to "hurling oneself of a cliff". This view can be seen as false because anger is the product of rational thought, example: feminism movements were established due to women who were downtrodden at the time. The difference between anger and rage must be made clear as rage is an extreme form of anger which one has already lost control over one's self while anger can be felt due to certain injustices caused in this world such as discrimination. Seneca believes that anger will eventually lead to rage as he cites" [y]ou will become angry with this person, then with that one [r]age will seize you and your frenzy will continue as new sources of irritation arise (Seneca p.113).This view can be agreed to a point as one will descend into rage from anger if one loses purpose in what one is fighting for as rage is merely an extreme form of anger.
Secondly, one must discover the causes of anger to understand the root of the problem.