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Placebo and Justinus, his bad and good advisers

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Placebo and Justinus, his bad and good advisers After discussing the dangers and advantages of marrying young women, January asks friends for advice. Placebo [Latin, "I will please"] flatters him, telling him he is right to marry a young woman. Justinus [L. "just one"] warns him of the dangers he risks and counsels him not to marry, based on his own experience as a married man. January does what he wants, in the end, and suffers for it. Their speeches are almost a little play about bad and good advice. Are they played for satiric/comic effect, or do they seem to tend toward tragedy? ...read more.


January, wished to have a young wife of no older than thirty, for a young wife would be more pliable, but Placebo warned him that it takes great courage for such an aged man to take a young wife. He warned him of the misery that can come from taking a wife, for she could be shrewish or a drunkard, facts that a husband will not learn until well into the marriage. Despite the common opinion that Placebo has a wonderful wife, he knows what faults she has. They argue about the merits of marriage, with Placebo predicting that January will not please his wife for more than three years, but Placebo eventually assents to January's plan. ...read more.


He muses that marriage might be January's purgatory. The debate between January and Placebo is a relatively dry collection of classical and biblical anecdotes, but it serves to frame the comic sex farce to come as a more serious look at marriage. The beginning passages of the tale also serve as a warning against marriage. When the aged January decides to take a wife he is already sixty and rapidly approaching senility. His wish to marry stems from a realization of his own mortality rather than any love for a wife � in fact, he decides to marry before he has found a fianc�e. The Merchant even indicates that January's life to this point has been fulfilling, leaving dotage as the only reason for him to take a wife. His arguments for marriage therefore appear empty in comparison of those by Placebo. ...read more.

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