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...

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