This article explores Plutarch’s views of consistent and inconsistent behavior, suggesting that he finds the latter deeply problematic, particularly in the context of the Lives, where statesmen ought to have educated themselves properly before entering into public life; the Moralia offer a more "philosophical" paradigm, in which improvement can be valued as part of a maturation process. After summarizing Plutarch’s beliefs about the formation and deformation of character, I examine several Lives in which the protagonist is seen as inconsistent (Coriolanus, Themistocles, Demosthenes, Cicero, and Alcibiades), showing Plutarch’s different strategies for compensating for what he sees as a character flaw.

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