The Middle Road to Happiness
Too much exercise destroys strength as much as too little, and in the same way too much or too little food or drink destroys the health, while the proportionate amount increases and preserves it. The same is true of temperance and courage and the other virtues, for he who is afraid of everything and does not stand firm becomes a coward, and he who fears nothing and rushes into danger becomes foolhardy. And in the same way the man who indulges himself in every pleasure becomes self-indulgent, and the man who abstains from every pleasure becomes boorish. Temperance and courage, then, are destroyed by too much and too little, but are preserved by the mean.
- Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics
Aristotle was clear that living in the 'golden mean' would retain the most balanced way of life. In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein the main characters display the repercussions of what living life in excess can do. Victor Frankenstein and Robert Walton behave irrationally for the sake of personal glory. Likewise, the beast that Victor creates is immediately shunned and turned away from society, causing him to fear and be feared. These excessive behaviors could only lead these men to failure, but, according to Aristotle, if they had been...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 783 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5401 literature essays, 1611 sample college application essays, 212 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in