Aristotle and Nicomachean Ethics Essay

1383 Words Nov 16th, 2007 6 Pages
Aristotle provides the teleological approach of how to live well in his collection of lectures, Nicomachean Ethics. In Book II of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle presents his definition of virtue in which it is "a kind of mean" (N.E. 129). According to Aristotle, moral virtue is a means to an end, happiness. By using Sophocles's Antigone, I will support Aristotle's theory of virtue in which he reasons it to be a state of character between two extremes. A virtue that remains relevant today as it did during Aristotle's era is that of courage. By using Aristotle's account on what represents the virtue of courage, I will demonstrate how it could be applied to the dilemma the characters of Antigone encounter. Even his definition of justice is …show more content…
Although one sister's decision was motivated by what she believed would happen to her in the after life and the other worried about the consequences she would encounter in her existing life; it is clear that both rationalized their decisions by what they believed to be right. Not to say what they did is good or right in relation to Aristotle. What is obvious is that as human beings we have the capacity to deliberate and decide how an action will affect our ability to flourish and prosper. Consider again the virtue of courage. You may ask why courage is referred to as a virtue. According to Aristotle courage is a means between cowardice and rashness. His theory can be clearly applied to Antigone in regards to Antigone and Ismene. These sisters were equally faced with the dilemma of upholding their brother's honor or unquestionably obeying King Creon, their uncle. However, neither decided to act virtuously and choose the mean of the situation. On one side we have Antigone which chooses to completely disregard the law and secretly bury her brother. Her rashness can be manifested in her statement, "I know that I will die, of course I do, even if you had not doomed me by proclamation" (Antigone 460-461). It is clear that Antigone was not even considering alternative options to uphold her brother's honor while resolving her current situation. One might argue that Antigone had no other option. Then again, is it not the purpose of life to be happy? In

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