Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 3, Chapter 9 (1117a29-1117b23)

By Aristotle

Book 3, Chapter 9 (1117a29-1117b23)

  • Courage deals with both confidence and fear, but mostly with fear.
  • People are courageous when they persevere through fear and pain.
  • So while the end of courage is pleasant (i.e. honor), getting there's pretty awful.
  • A truly courageous person is noble because, although he hates the idea of being maimed and killed, he perseveres because he knows he should. He's also afraid of dishonor.
  • A virtuous person—like a person of courage must be—is a happier person.
  • Happier people really hate to die. But this unwillingness isn't blameworthy if he lays down his life anyway.
  • Aristotle lays down a paradox: though exercising the virtues isn't always pleasant, the end result always is.