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Nicomachean Ethics   


should be angry at are thought to be fools, and so are those who are
not angry in the right way, at the right time, or with the right
persons; for such a man is thought not to feel things nor to be pained
by them, and, since he does not get angry, he is thought unlikely to
defend himself; and to endure being insulted and put up with insult to
one's friends is slavish.
The excess can be manifested in all the points that have been named
(for one can be angry with the wrong persons, at the wrong things,
more than is right, too quickly, or too long); yet all are not found
in the same person. Indeed they could not; for evil destroys even
itself, and if it is complete becomes unbearable. Now hot-tempered
people get angry quickly and with the wrong persons and at the wrong
things and more than is right, but their anger ceases quickly-which is
the best point about them. This happens to them because they do not
restrain their anger but retaliate openly owing to their quickness of
temper, and then their anger ceases. By reason of excess choleric
people are quick-tempered and ready to be angry with everything and on
every occasion; whence their name. Sulky people are hard to appease,
and retain their anger long; for they repress their passion. But it
ceases when they retaliate; for revenge relieves them of their anger,
producing in them pleasure instead of pain. If this does not happen
they retain their burden; for owing to its not being obvious no one
even reasons with them, and to digest one's anger in oneself takes
time. Such people are most troublesome to themselves and to their
dearest friends. We call had-tempered those who are angry at the wrong
things, more than is right, and longer, and cannot be appeased until
they inflict vengeance or punishment.
To good temper we oppose the excess rather than the defect; for not
only is it commoner since revenge is the more human), but bad-tempered
people are worse to live with.
What we have said in our earlier treatment of the subject is plain
also from what we are now saying; viz. that it is not easy to define
how, with whom, at what, and how long one should be angry, and at what
point right action ceases and wrong begins. For the man who strays a
little from the path, either towards the more or towards the less, is
not blamed; since sometimes we praise those who exhibit the
deficiency, and call them good-tempered, and sometimes we call angry
people manly, as being capable of ruling. How far, therefore, and how
a man must stray before he becomes blameworthy, it is not easy to
state in words; for the decision depends on the particular facts and
on perception. But so much at least is plain, that the middle state is
praiseworthy- that in virtue of which we are angry with the right
people, at the right things, in the right way, and so on, while the
excesses and defects are blameworthy- slightly so if they are present
in a low degree, more if in a higher degree, and very much if in a
high degree. Evidently, then, we must cling to the middle state.-
Enough of the states relative to anger.
6
In gatherings of men, in social life and the interchange of words and
deeds, some men are thought to be obsequious, viz. those who to give
pleasure praise everything and never oppose, but think it their duty
'to give no pain to the people they meet'; while those who, on the
contrary, oppose everything and care not a whit about giving pain are
called churlish and contentious. That the states we have named are
culpable is plain enough, and that the middle state is laudable- that
in virtue of which a man will put up with, and will resent, the right
things and in the right way; but no name has been assigned to it,
though it most resembles friendship. For the man who corresponds to
this middle state is very much what, with affection added, we call a
good friend. But the state in question differs from friendship in that
it implies no passion or affection for one's associates; since it is
not by reason of loving or hating that such a man takes everything in
the right way, but by being a man of a certain kind. For he will
behave so alike towards those he knows and those he does not know,

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