On adultery

The battle against Cleomenes’s spartans had just ended and Clitus had just arrived in Athens,
Clitus had a wife waiting for his return but decided to head for his mistress first.
On his way to his mistress he passed the house of Arcadius and heard music playing to his delight and decided to knock on the door.
To his surprise he found the party in deep sleep except for Arcadius and the musician playing the flute, the symposium was coming to an end already but Arcadius roared from his seat:

  • Come Clitus, the symposium might be ending but it is one nonetheless as long as they’re are participants, join me for a bottle of of wine or two.
  • I guess I can’t reject such hospitality, thank you Arcadius.
  • Where are you heading Clitus? your wife lives across town if I’m correct.
  • Towards my mistress.
  • Ah, but there seems to be a flickering in your heart, tell me why.
  • I’m not sure whether or not I should engage in adultery or not even though it’s quite common to have a mistress or perhaps quite a lot of them.
  • Well, what do you suppose would be better for your life as whole, to have the occasional meeting with your mistress unknown to your wife or to be faithful throughout your life?
  • I’m not sure, and therefore I ask you Arcadius, what should I do?
  • Be faithful. But tonight, dear Clitus, you’ve already failed on that quest.
  • How come? I’ve yet to arrive at my mistress’s house nor have I engaged in fornication with her.
  • Let me ask you then Clitus, what you consider betraying your wife. Is it an embrace?
  • No!
  • A kiss on the cheek?
  • No.
  • On the mouth?
  • Perhaps.
  • Sexual intercourse?
  • Yes!
  • Your limit seems to be somewhere between a kiss on the cheek and and mouth, what would you say if I were to suggest that even kissing on the mouth is not betraying?
  • How can you claim such thing Arcadius? You should no by heart that there’s something deeply wrong with that!
  • Why?
  • Well, would you feel comfortable telling you wife you’d kissed another passionately on the mouth?
  • Of course not.
  • Doesn’t that suggest that you know it’s wrong towards her?
  • It does, but Clitus my friend, would you feel comfortable telling your wife you spent your night at you mistress’s even though you didn’t engage in any form of physical contact with her at all?
  • No.
  • If we follow your logic, doesn’t that mean that you’ve betrayed her?
  • Well, yes.
  • Would you consider telling her you’d strayed of from the path home and onto one leading to your mistress, fully aware of what mistresses are for?
  • No, I couldn’t.
  • Now, let’s pause and think.
  • About what Arcadius?
  • Where the limit lies of course. MORE WINE!!
  • Where would you suggest?
  • I’m not quite sure myself at this point (the second bottle of wine is being opened).
  • Where do you get truobled then?
  • If you think about it, by now it’s obvious that leaving home with the intent to meet your mistress is betraying your wife, right?
  • Of course.
  • But, when meeting a person who’s intentions are sexual and yours aren’t, is it wrong to meet them if you’re aware of their intentions?
  • What would you see in such a person Arcadius?
  • A friend to whom I can talk to.
  • Would you be willing to listen to the thoughts closest to her heart as well?
  • Yes.
  • Would you accept her critiques towards the one she envy which would be your wife?
  • No, I could not.
  • Would you listen her endeavors to persuade you that a life or perhaps just an evening with her would be something prefer than the you being faithful?
  • No, I wouldn’t waste my time with subjects of malcontent and ill-intentions.
  • But those subjects which you condemn are the subjects closest to her heart. Aren’t you being to cruel to a person whom you’d like to call your friend then?
  • I guess you’re right.
  • And I assume you wouldn’t be comfortable telling your wife you were meeting a person who’s intentions you both were aware either.
  • Perhaps not.
  • So you see Arcadius, in meeting her, you’d be betraying not only your wife but the very thing you and I share, friendship.
  • You make a very good point Clitus.
  • Thank you, now the hour is late and it’s about time I left Arcadius and thank you for the wine.
  • Thank you dear Clitus for the company. One last question before you leave; considering what we’ve stated this evening it is clear that so far tonight you’ve already failed your wife if your heart was set on being faithful to her.
    However, it’d be too cruel to claim that there’s isn’t a difference in the amount of betrayal between straying onto the wrong path home and actually engaging in intercourse with your mistress, no one can deny there’s an occasional arise of temptation that occurs and has power to lead men astray and therefore no man should deny the strength of another’s conviction when one is able to resist such temptation.
    Though betrayal is still betrayal in the end, one must cherish the power of one’s conviction that enables you to resist the temptation to do something far more regrettable than merely taking the wrong path home.
    Now of course you should strive to make your convictions for your commitment even firmer so such an act would be aborted as soon as considered and that is the ideal which we all head for.
    So Clitus my dear friend, I noticed you didn’t mention where you were heading when telling me your leaving and I feared the worst. So with this mind, could reveal your destination to me?
  • I would if the destination wasn’t so obvious after our conversation.

And with that, Clitus nodded slightly with a smile and left Arcadius alone utterly subdued by the wine and the last thing he heard of Arcadius that night was a loud yell towards his servant calling for more wine.


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