Monday, October 29, 2012

Franklin's 13 Virtues analysis

It seems that the main goal of Benjamin Franklin when creating and implementing his thirteen virtues was that he aimed to be a better person. Franklin was successful in his goal of becoming a better person by having his thirteen virtues because he became self disciplined and he learned what it takes to overcome flaws.

One of the ways that Franklin was able to become a better person through his virtues, is that he learned to be self disciplined. No one made Franklin create a list of virtues to use in his everyday life (Franklin 89). He did this for himself, and so that he could be a better person. After creating the list, no one was going to be looking over his shoulder watching to make sure that he was carrying out his virtues like he had promised. He had to do this all on his own, and the only obstacle in obtaining his goals would be himself. Franklin, however, was able to make himself carry out the virtues (Franklin 88). He did this in an organized way and says in his autobiography, "I made a little book, in which I allotted a page for each of the virtues...I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have found"(Franklin, 85). It took self control to make sure that he went through his book and marked down all of the times he did not follow the virtue (Franklin 85). He could have lied and put down no mistakes for that virtue, but this would have been redundant in the fact that he was lying to himself instead improving himself.

In addition to learning self discipline from his thirteen virtues, Franklin also was able to overcome the flaws that he saw in himself. Some people saw Franklin as wise, far sighted, and useful ( Tuckerman 5). Yet, this great Founding Father too had flaws. It is almost impossible to improve yourself if you do not recognize your flaws. Franklin did this, and he was able to write down a list of thirteen things that he needed to improve on (Franklin 83). The next step is trying to prevent yourself from breaking the virtues. Franklin also did this by having a little book (Franklin 85). In his book he would observe a virtue every week and make a mark when he strayed from the virtue of the week (Franklin 85). This helped Franklin to see what he was doing wrong, and where he needed to improve. After Franklin became accustomed to living his life with the virtues he was able to see his mistakes diminish with time (Franklin 88). Franklin says in his autobiography, "After a while I went thro' one course only in a year, and afterward only one in several years, till at length I omitted them entirely" (Franklin 88). This quote shows that Franklin got to a point where he no longer needed his book because he had implemented the virtues into his life without straying from his goals. He successful incorporated his thirteen virtues into his life, and did not need to observe himself. 

In conclusion, Benjamin Franklin was able to become a better person by following his thirteen virtues. Franklin was able to teach himself self discipline and the process in which flaws can be eliminated. Franklin's virtues can be compared to the Michael Jackson song, "Man in the Mirror". The song talks about that the way to make the world a better place, is to improve yourself first. Franklin realized this and was able to change his whole existence by implementing his thirteen virtues, and becoming an overall better person.

Franklin, Benjamin. Autobiography. London: J.M. Dent, 1948. Print.

Tuckerman, Henry T. The Character of Franklin. N.p.: n.p., 1856. Print.

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