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Nicomachean Ethics   


For Hector one day 'mid the Trojans shall utter his vaulting
harangue:
Afraid was Tydeides, and fled from my face.
This kind of courage is most like to that which we described earlier,
because it is due to virtue; for it is due to shame and to desire of a
noble object (i.e. honour) and avoidance of disgrace, which is
ignoble. One might rank in the same class even those who are compelled
by their rulers; but they are inferior, inasmuch as they do what they
do not from shame but from fear, and to avoid not what is disgraceful
but what is painful; for their masters compel them, as Hector does:
But if I shall spy any dastard that cowers far from the fight,
Vainly will such an one hope to escape from the dogs.
And those who give them their posts, and beat them if they retreat, do
the same, and so do those who draw them up with trenches or something
of the sort behind them; all of these apply compulsion. But one ought
to be brave not under compulsion but because it is noble to be so.
(2) Experience with regard to particular facts is also thought to be
courage; this is indeed the reason why Socrates thought courage was
knowledge. Other people exhibit this quality in other dangers, and
professional soldiers exhibit it in the dangers of war; for there seem
to be many empty alarms in war, of which these have had the most
comprehensive experience; therefore they seem brave, because the
others do not know the nature of the facts. Again, their experience
makes them most capable in attack and in defence, since they can use
their arms and have the kind that are likely to be best both for
attack and for defence; therefore they fight like armed men against
unarmed or like trained athletes against amateurs; for in such
contests too it is not the bravest men that fight best, but those who
are strongest and have their bodies in the best condition.
Professional soldiers turn cowards, however, when the danger puts too
great a strain on them and they are inferior in numbers and equipment;
for they are the first to fly, while citizen-forces die at their
posts, as in fact happened at the temple of Hermes. For to the latter
flight is disgraceful and death is preferable to safety on those
terms; while the former from the very beginning faced the danger on
the assumption that they were stronger, and when they know the facts
they fly, fearing death more than disgrace; but the brave man is not
that sort of person.
(3) Passion also is sometimes reckoned as courage; those who act from
passion, like wild beasts rushing at those who have wounded them, are
thought to be brave, because brave men also are passionate; for
passion above all things is eager to rush on danger, and hence Homer's
'put strength into his passion' and 'aroused their spirit and passion
and 'hard he breathed panting' and 'his blood boiled'. For all such
expressions seem to indicate the stirring and onset of passion. Now
brave men act for honour's sake, but passion aids them; while wild
beasts act under the influence of pain; for they attack because they
have been wounded or because they are afraid, since if they are in a
forest they do not come near one. Thus they are not brave because,
driven by pain and passion, they rush on danger without foreseeing any
of the perils, since at that rate even asses would be brave when they
are hungry; for blows will not drive them from their food; and lust
also makes adulterers do many daring things. (Those creatures are not
brave, then, which are driven on to danger by pain or passion.) The
'courage' that is due to passion seems to be the most natural, and to
be courage if choice and motive be added.
Men, then, as well as beasts, suffer pain when they are angry, and are
pleased when they exact their revenge; those who fight for these
reasons, however, are pugnacious but not brave; for they do not act
for honour's sake nor as the rule directs, but from strength of
feeling; they have, however, something akin to courage.
(4) Nor are sanguine people brave; for they are confident in danger
only because they have conquered often and against many foes. Yet they
closely resemble brave men, because both are confident; but brave men

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