The Choice Of Hercules
Note by J H Fowler

This paper contains one of the most ancient and famous of all Allegories; one that was evidently a great favourite with Addison and served him as a model for the composition of others which he invented himself. But though Addison admired this Allegory, its teaching had not escaped criticism even in antiquity. Plato (Republic, II.) represents Glaucomi and Adeimantus, two young friends of Socrates, as dissatisfied with teaching of this class which dwells on the outward advantages of Virtue but seems to admit the superior attractiveness of Vice ; they ask him to prove that Virtue is best in itself and apart from all thought of consequences, and this Socrates tries to do in the later books of the Republic.

Also it is important to remember that the choice between Right and Wrong needs to be made continuously: it is not merely a case of choosing one path once for all. There are moments of supreme importance in life when a decision must be taken on the instant, but the character of that decision will depend on the training a man has given himself in the duties of every day.

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