Applying the Virtues: Prudence, Courage, Temperance and Hope Essay

Applying the Virtues: Prudence, Courage, Temperance and Hope Essay

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Applying the Virtues
As previously discussed, prudence is the mother and mold of all virtues. Because Oscar did not exercise prudence in the film, he also failed to exercise any of the other virtues. Oscar failed to exercise prudence as he did not have docilitas nor solertia. He did not have docilitas as he failed to listen to the advice that his best friend Angie was giving him. Angie found Lenny hiding in the garage and discovered that Oscar was not telling the truth. She advised him to come clean to the public and stop living in a lie just for the sake of living a luxurious life. Similarly, Oscar did not have solertia as he failed to look at the situation clearly. His vision was clouded by his disordered value system, and as a result he was placing emphasis on all of the wrong things.
Oscar, in fact, exercised both false prudence and imprudence. For example, Oscar exercised fake prudence when he staged the event where he “slayed” Lenny. He believed that he was acting carefully as he was trying to save himself and the image that he had created, however he was not acting prudently as this carefulness was being implemented in a corrupt manner. Similarly, Oscar acted imprudently, particularly due to his agitatedness and thoughtlessness. He was agitated in the sense that he was scared that the sharks were seeking revenge and were going to kill him. He therefore made the imprudent decision to “slay” another shark. Oscar was also thoughtless: he failed to think on the situation and realize the potential consequences of taking credit for killing a shark.
As previously stated, the end of the film shows Oscar with a new, more virtuous life that is more suited to his eudaimon. In order to stay on this path, Oscar will have ...

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...d to practice what Pieper refers to as “selfless self-preservation”. This was a particularly due to his incontinence (inability to resist) and preoccupation with ‘pleasurable’ things.

The movie Shark Tale also effectively demonstrates the difference between natural and theological hope. Oscar, of course, had “natural hope” of receiving all of the “good” things that life had to offer. He hoped to become rich, to become famous, to be “a somebody” and to live at the top of the reef. This hope, however, is far from theological, virtuous hope which is “a steadfast turning toward… the good”. Oscar does not hope to be a good, virtuous person and is not focused on his telos – that is, not until he begins to practice prudence, courage and temperance to turn his life around. In doing so, he recognizes his magnanimity and begins working towards a great and noble life.

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