The influence of the Renaissance on Francis Bacon

The influence of the Renaissance on Francis Bacon

Question: Discuss the influence of the Renaissance on Francis Bacon.


Renaissance means rebirth or revival. To put it differently, it refers to the revival of classical learning and intellectuality. It is universal that all walks of people including writers, philosophers, journalists, etc. are influenced by the periodical impacts in which they live. Bacon is no exception to this universal trend. The influence of the renaissance is completely traceable in the essays of Bacon.

Materialistic outlooking

It is a fact that Bacon is a writer of pragmatical spirit or practical wisdom. He believes in Machiavellian philosophy that means the results of actions or ways of achieving material progress. Hence Bacon never teaches ideal morality. He advises his readers on how to become rich and influential. As a result, he has given a concrete shape of metaphysical ideas such as love, truth, lie, friendship, etc. Thus, as a man of renaissance whatever the topics Bacon chooses for his essays carry the materialistic concepts.

The spirit of nationalism

The spirit of nationalism is one of the significant features of the renaissance. It is to be noted though Bacon teaches practical ideality and morality, he never preaches anything against his country. His essay “Of Great Place” mainly focuses on good governance.

“The vices of authority are chiefly four delays, corruption, roughness and facility.”

Bacon is out and out a man of the renaissance from the perspective of the national spirit because a patriot can only advocate for good governance.

Exploration, adventure, and political quest

The renaissance was an age of adventure and exploration. In his essays, Bacon has often mentioned that a country should make efforts to become powerful and great. In the essay “Of Plantation”, he has supported imperialism which is proved by the outset of the essay.

“Plantations are amongst ancient, primitive, and heroical works.”

Further in the long essay “Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates”, Bacon gives a clear analysis of how to be a powerful state. A single sentence of the essay is like a monster to prove this.

“Let states that aim at greatness, take heed how their nobility and gentlemen do multiply too fast.”

Classical learning

The revival of classical learning which means the study of ancient Greek and Roman literature and history is a hallmark of the renaissance. Bacon’s essays abound in quotations or allusions from the Greek and Roman literature. He has quoted from the Latin writers such as Seneca and Virgil. He begins his essay “Of Truth” by the reference of Roman Governor Pilate.

“What is Truth? said jesting Pilate and would not stay for answer.”

There is hardly an essay that is free from these quotations or allusions. So, Bacon is nobody but a man of the renaissance.

Love for nature

Elizabethan age of renaissance is regarded as the first romantic period of English literature. As a writer of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, Bacon is not devoid of sensuousness. In the essay “Of Studies”, he compares the ability of human beings with natural plants.

“For natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by studies;”

This indicates that Bacon is a lover of nature. Besides, the essay “Of Gardens” is one that shows that Bacon is a keen lover of sensuous beauty. Therefore, the world cannot but accept Bacon as a man of the renaissance.

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The sense of curiosity is a typical spirit of the renaissance. It exhibits the tendency and love of increasing knowledge by knowing more about the unknown and seeing the unseen. Bacon had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge like all the people of the renaissance.

A wealth of metaphor and analogy

Another important characteristic of the renaissance is the use of striking figures of speech. Bacon is a master of using figures of speech in essays like Shakespeare and Christopher Marlow. The metaphors and similes taken from different spheres of knowledge or experience reflect the exuberance of the age.


In the breakup, it transparent that Bacon is no doubt a man renaissance since his essays are packed up with typical features of the period of revival or rebirth.

Ruhul Huda
Ruhul Huda

You can call me Mr. Huda. I am a researcher and doing this work for years. I like to learn everywhere. So, feel free to share your experience with me.

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