Psychagogy in Plutarch's Moralia and Parallel Lives : the image of the ideal Woman

Warren, Lunette (2016-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Plutarch’s views on women are significantly influenced by Plato’s metaphysics and virtue ethics, while he draws from other traditions as he sees fit. The theoretical-philosophical works of the Moralia conceptualise Woman as Man’s equal in terms of moral ability, but more susceptible to irrationality and thus vice. To correct this inherent weakness, Woman needs the guidance of the male principle, which will guide her towards reason and virtue. The popularphilosophical works share the assumptions of this metaphysical basis in Plutarch’s psychagogy for women. These texts show a desire to control women by rendering them completely subservient to their husbands. An extensive list of virtues and vices of women is discussed in the four works that form part of this psychagogic programme: Conjugalia praecepta, Consolatio ad uxorem, Mulierum virtutes and Lacaenarum apophthegmata. Plutarch uses these same virtues and vices to judge the female characters of his Lives, who are presented according to the virtue-vice binary, unlike his male characters. These historical women are written in such a way as to serve as exempla for his female audience. The image of Woman that emerges from the Moralia and the Lives is reactionary, based on a belief that social values were deteriorating. The literary and material records show that women of the early Imperial Period gained much in terms of social rights and public participation, and therefore they have little in common with Plutarch’s ideal Woman.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Plutarchos se siening van vroue is aansienlik beïnvloed deur Plato se metafisika en deugsetiek, met aanvulling vanuit ander tradisies soos hy voel nodig is. Die teoreties-filosofiese werke in die Moralia konseptualiseer die Vrou as Man se gelyke i.t.v. morele vermoë, maar meer vatbaar vir irrasionaliteit en dus ondeug. Om hierdie inherente swakheid reg te stel, benodig die Vrou die leiding van die manlike beginsel, wat haar na die rede en deug sal begelei. Die populêr-filosofiese werke deel in die aannames van hierdie metafisiese basis vir Ploutarchos se psigagogie vir vroue. Hierdie tekste toon ‘n begeerte om vroue te beheer deur hulle totaal onderdanig aan hul man te maak. ‘n Omvangryke lys van deugde en ondeugde word in die vier werke wat deel vorm van hierdie psigagogiese program bespreek: Conjugalia praecepta, Consolatio ad uxorem, Mulierum virtutes en Lacaenarum apophthegmata. Plutarchos gebruik hierdie selfde deugde en ondeugde om die vroulike karakters van sy Vitae te beoordeel. Anders as die manlike karakters, word hierdie vroue volgens die deug-ondeug binêr voorgestel. Die historiese vroue is so geskryf dat hulle as exempla vir Plutarchos se vroulike gehoor kan optree. Die beeld van die Vrou wat uit die Moralia en Vitae te voorskyn kom is reaksionêr, gebaseer op die geloof dat sosiale waardes besig was om af te brokkel. Die literêre en materiële rekord wys egter dat vroue in die vroeë Keisertyd groot winste i.t.v. sosiale regte en publieke deelname gemaak het, en dus het hulle min in gemeen met Plutarchos se ideale Vrou.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100027
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