previous next
Nor doth the constant observation of ourselves in anger minister these things only to our consideration, but it also gives us to understand another natural property of anger, how disingenuous and unmanly a thing it is, and how far from true wisdom and greatness of mind. Yet the vulgar account the angry man's turbulence to be his activity, his loud threats to argue boldness, and his refractoriness strength; as also some mistake his cruelty for an undertaking of great matters, his implacableness for a firmness of resolution, and his morosity for an hatred of that which is evil. For, in truth, both the deeds and motions and the whole mien of angry men do accuse them of much littleness and infirmity, not only when they vex little children, scold silly women, and think dogs and horses and asses worthy of their anger and deserving to be punished (as Ctesiphon the Pancratiast, who vouchsafed to kick the ass [p. 43] that had kicked him first); but even in their tyrannical slaughters, their mean-spiritedness appearing in their bitterness, and their suffering exhibited outwardly in their actions, are but like to the biting of serpents who, when they themselves become burnt and full of pain, violently thrust the venom that inflames them from themselves into those that have hurt them. For as a great blow causes a great swelling in the flesh, so in the softest souls the giving way to a passion for hurting others, like a stroke on the soul, doth make it to swell with anger; and all the more, the greater is its weakness.

For this cause it is that women are more apt to be angry than men are, and sick persons than the healthful, and old men than those who are in their perfect age and strength, and men in misery than such as prosper. For the covetous man is most prone to be angry with his steward, the glutton with his cook, the jealous man with his wife, the vainglorious person with him that speaks ill of him; but of all men there are none so exceedingly disposed to be angry as those who are ambitious of honor, and affect to carry on a faction in a city, which (according to Pindar) is but a splendid vexation. In like manner, from the great grief and suffering of the soul, through weakness especially, there ariseth anger, which is not like the nerves of the soul (as one spake), but like its straining and convulsive motions when it vehemently stirs itself up in its desires and endeavors of revenge.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Gregorius N. Bernardakis, 1891)
load focus English (W. C. Helmbold, 1939)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: