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Aristotle's Perspective On Courage Essay

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In the 1939 movie classic, The Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion is on a quest for the wizard to give him courage. He is afraid of everything and anything. However, in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle believes that courage is possible for all individuals. To gain courage one must have the inner qualities that will guide the courageous. The most important out of these qualities is to come to terms with death itself. Also, there are views of courage that are falsely perceived because they appear to be parallel with one another; nevertheless they are still very different.
One must have many different inner qualities in order to achieve courage. First, one must not be concerned with death; death can be a beautiful thing. Aristotle talks about how the possibility of dying for your country in war can be the utmost and most poetic danger of all. (Aristotle 48) Dying for a country in defense gives one honor because he or she stands firm in a belief regardless of what could happen to them. Aristotle compares this with citizenship. He claims,
Citizens seem to endure dangers on account of the penalties that come from the laws, and reproaches, and on account of honors; and because of this, those peoples seem to be the most courageous. (51)
Citizens here show their courage and do not fear the consequence. The motive here is not fear of the end result being their persecution, but for the good and defense of their self. One must yearn for the honor in the process of being unyielding in a belief. In order for this, one must be the inferior and proceed not because of shame but because of trepidation. (51)
Another inner quality one must encompass to be courageous is to do it in a balanced manner. Aristotle talks about the courageous...


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...ercome my failures, I still strive everyday to be more like Aristotle’s courageous individual. Subsequent to reviewing the inner qualities of a courageous person, facing death (or failures) in honor of something greater, more poetic; and their balanced manner, it is clear that; if you obsess about death or one’s failures, one will never be able to overcome it. Realizing that the most important inner quality is facing death because if one does not, one will never amount to anything more beautiful (in a poetic sense) in their life. When one faces death or a failure, one is accepting the biggest challenge of all. And lastly, I strive to be like Aristotle’s courageous individual because it is in right in between the rash individual, and the coward.


Works Cited

Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Trans. Joe Sachs. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing R. Pullins Company, 2002.


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