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Epictetus (55-135 CE) Enchiridion
A manual for living a contented life
Rendered by Charles Scamahorn (1935- ) 2014


Epictetus – A philosopher of Roman Stoicism.

Introduction to

The Dagger

“You are a tiny character in a great play the eternities choose. If your part is short, it’s short; if long, it’s long; it isn’t your choice. If your part is that of a beggar, act a beggar well; if it’s of one who limps and grovels, or of a lordly magistrate, play it well, play it well. Your life is driven by circumstance, but your task is to live it well, to live it well.” Epictetus (AD 55–135) The Stoic’s Enchiridion

I was surprised when I came across that quotation, because this is what improvisation is, as it is being taught to me. I have seen similar words before, and I have heard them too, and I have even attempted to practice them; but it didn’t click that this is a statement of the life strategy that I have been attempting to cultivate since adolescence. The improv setting gives me the opportunity to play different lives for a minute, and that translates into playing living roles with more commitment in daily life.