First of all, friendship is necessary for maintaining good mental health by controlling and regulating the passions of the mind.
In other words, Bacon here speaks of the therapeutic use of friendship though which one can lighten the heart by revealing the pent-up feelings and emotions: sorrows, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, advice and the like.
Again, he may be so self-sufficient that he may not need society.
In the first case, he resembles a wild beast and in the second, he resembles gods.
First, he refers to Aristotle’s view in Politics: Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.
According to Aristotle, a man by nature and behaviour may be degraded to such an extent that he may be called unfit for society.
But the essay Of Friendship is stylistically somewhat different in that it contains passionate and flattering statements along with profuse analogies and examples in support of his arguments perhaps because this essay was occasioned by the request of his friend Toby Matthew.
Bacon begins the essay by invoking the classical authority of Aristotle on basic human nature.
Then Bacon tries to glorify friendship by translating the Roman term for friendship, Participes curarum, which means ‘sharers of their cares’.
He gives instances of raising of men as friends from the Roman history: Sylla and Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar and Antonius, Augustus and Agrippa, Tiberius Caesar and Sejanus, Septimius Severus and Plautianus.