Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

Virtue Surmounts Deception College

Several of the most famous stories told to young children were Aesop’s fables, creative stories designed to teach valuable life lessons. One of the most memorable to me was the fable about the lion that spared a mouse’s life and was later rescued by the mouse. Skeptical that this miniscule creature would ever be able to do something for him, the lion’s pride in his size and strength almost blinded him from displaying kindness. This tale particularly resonates in my mind because it teaches the moral that kindness and virtue are never wasted. Machiavelli’s controversial treatise, The Prince, offers a method of rule through fear. His cynical perspective of human nature causes him to lose faith and trust in others. He fails to acknowledge humans as relational beings, so his methods prove to be only temporarily effective. In contrast, understanding and exemplifying Aristotle’s definition of true virtue in his Nicomachean Ethics will bring reverence, love, and happiness to a leader. Therefore, the community will thrive when that individual believes in the common good and genuinely cares for others. Because love ultimately surpasses fear, in comparison to Machiavelli’s cynicism and skepticism, Aristotle’s beliefs about virtue would...

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