Essential Question: How does Latin Literature encourage readers to live life everyday like it’s your last?
The concept of Carpe Diem has profoundly influenced not only Latin Literature, but also the way we base our lives off of every day. The saying originated from Horace’s work Odes in 23 BC, and the Latin aphorism when directly translated, means “seize the day.” Not only does the saying entail the roots of how we choose to live our lives, but it also comes from the longer phrase, “carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.” The actual phrase that connects to carpe diem, which translates as “put very little trust in tomorrow,” really ties in the idea that you should not worry about the future, but just to make the most of the present now. However, it can be said that the idea itself roots from the basis of Horace’s beliefs. The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus holds an intersection which bases its teachings of enjoying life when possible from Epicureanism. Ideally, Epicureanism seeks for one to enjoy life, and fill your day with simple pleasures. It also wishes for one to seek moderation, and to avoid desires, greed, ambition, superstition and pains, as well as not worrying what the future holds. Epicureanism stems have uprooted over the several decades to come, as poets during the late 16th centuries have used the idea of carpe diem to establish works, such as from Robert Herrick’s To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time. “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying.” This stanza illustrates the meaning yet again that carpe diem can apply to many aspects, in this case for virgins to urge them in a way to experience intercourse and live life with pleasures. The expression in this case urges the young woman generally to express the freedom of youth before it is gone. I believe that Latin literature demonstrates a wide variety of morals for readers to pick up. The enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment without having any concerns for the future not only links aspirations or hopes to our active lives, but also to make every moment memorable. It shows that despite unprecedented changes that may occur in your life, living life everyday to the fullest will make you not only a better person, but also make you happier. This sentimental phrase has a deeper meaning to it than most perceive. Normally, most would see carpe diem as enjoying yourself while you have the chance, but for others it could serve as the closer relations to philosophy of life they’ll ever have. In Latin class we have discussed the meaning of carpe diem and its applications in life. Personally as a student, carpe diem should have applications to how much effort we put into something, whether it be for school work or sports. Even in class, participation can be demanding for many students. However, participation can change a student’s outlook on things for the future to come. It can be said that even though it looks towards the future, the idea of carpe diem is not applicable, but I would say that carpe diem in fact does apply. Carpe diem to me is a concept that helps people push past their fears to accomplish something that may be seemingly unusual or potentially result in a negative outcome. To seize the day, one has to reach beyond their so called “comfort zone” to get familiarized to something. However, that is anything but common. On a more personal level, the phrase carpe diem gives empowerment to give my best, be resolute to succeed, and enjoy my privileges as a student in a prodigious high school. Giving my best and appreciating the education and teachers that help along the way gives strength and resolve to those who don’t see a purpose in school. Carpe diem also represents that working hard, fighting for what I believe, and learning new ideas that others come up with leads to me becoming a better person, and the phrase carpe diem envelopes the fact that my parents try and work so hard just to provide me with the opportunities I have in front of me. Carpe diem tells me ultimately, that opportunities only come ever so often. To be there when opportunity “knocks on your door” and answering is what I feel carpe diem really represents and how decisions will affect other decisions that we make in life. The ideology of carpe diem hits home on the ones that are there to help us grow and become better human beings, and the concept of carpe diem helps me find out who I really am and want to be by seizing the day!