Letters from a Stoic Epistulae Morales Ad Lucilium Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is Seneca's thoughts on the phrase "cheerful poverty?"

In Seneca's mind, "cheerful poverty" is an oxymoron because what truly causes poverty is not the lack of wealth, but desiring it. The virtuous man will want only what he needs to survive and nothing more.

2. In Letter II, how does Seneca advise Lucilius to proceed with his study of philosophy?

In Letter II, Seneca advises Lucilius not to spread his philosophical studies among too many books. Instead, he says Lucilius ought to focus on a narrow range of writers because it is not possible to absorb the full meaning of a text if one quickly changes to something entirely different.

3. What does Seneca say about developing friendships?

Regarding friendships, Seneca says that one should trust a friend unconditionally, but should only be friends with those who are worthy. Thus, while it is important to have trusting relationships with others, it is equally important not to be too trusting.

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