Summary and Analysis Book III: Chapter VII



Like all human beings, the courageous man fears what is fearful, but he endures his fear in the right way and for the right reason because his aim is to act with nobility. It is possible to fear things to a greater or lesser extent than is warranted or to fear what is not really fearful, and these are the forms taken by the vices surrounding courage. Common usage has no name for excessive lack of fear, but the man who is afraid of nothing is either a madman or totally immune to pain. Excessive confidence is called recklessness. Excessive fear is cowardice. Cowards, reckless men, and courageous men are all concerned with the same situation, but have different attitudes toward it. The first two groups practice extreme forms of behavior, while the latter keep to the mean and behave properly.