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since, if the envious man is pained at another's possession or acquisition of good fortune, he is bound to rejoice at the destruction or non-acquisition of the same. Wherefore all these emotions are a hindrance to pity, although they differ for the reasons stated; so that they are all equally useful for preventing any feeling of pity.

[6] Let us then first speak of indignation, the persons with whom men feel indignant, for what reasons, and in what frame of mind; and then proceed to the rest of the emotions. [7] What we have just said will make matters clear. For if indignation is being pained at the sight of good fortune that is apparently undeserved, in the first place it is clear that it is not possible to feel indignation at all good things; [8] for no one will be indignant with a man who is just or courageous, or may acquire any virtue (for one does not feel pity in the case of opposites of those qualities),1 but men are indignant at wealth, power, in a word, at all the advantages of which good men are worthy. [And those who possess natural advantages, such as noble birth, beauty, and all such things.]2 [9] And since that which is old seems closely to resemble that which is natural, it follows that, if two parties have the same good, men are more indignant with the one who has recently acquired it and owes his prosperity to it; for the newly rich cause more annoyance than those who have long possessed or inherited wealth. The same applies to offices of state,
power, numerous friends, virtuous children, and any other advantages of the kind. And if these advantages bring them some other advantage, men are equally indignant; for in this case also the newly rich who attain to office owing to their wealth cause more annoyance than those who have long been wealthy; and similarly in all other cases of the same kind. [10] The reason is that the latter seem to possess what belongs to them, the former not; for that which all along shows itself in the same light suggests a reality, so that the former seem to possess what is not theirs.3 [11] And since every kind of good is not suitable to the first comer, but a certain proportion and suitability are necessary (as for instance beautiful weapons are not suitable to the just but to the courageous man, and distinguished marriages not to the newly rich but to the nobly born), if a virtuous man does not obtain what is suitable to him, we feel indignant. Similarly, if the inferior contends with the superior, especially among those engaged in the same pursuit,—whence the saying of the poet, “ He avoided battle with Ajax, son of Telamon,4 for Zeus was indignant with him, when he would fight with a better man;

1 Because it is a man's own fault, and pity is only felt for what is undeserved.

2 The first part of the sentence is clear: men are indignant when what good men deserve is possessed by those who are not good. The literal translation o the text as it stands is: “Men are indignant . . . at all the advantages of which good men and those who possess natural advantages are worthy”; but this cannot be right, since there is nothing in natural advantages to arouse moral indignation, there is no question of their being deserved or undeserved. Something may have fallen out like “but they will not be indignant with those who possess natural advantages.” Roemer (Rhein. Mus. 39 p. 504) suggests οὐδ᾽ εἰ τὰ φύσει ἔχουσιν ἀγαθά (understanding νεμεσήσει τούτοις).

3 δοκεῖν is a stronger word than φαίνεσθαι, indicating an intellectual operation as opposed to an impression received through the senses. The idea is that where anything has been so long in a person's possession, it has come to he regarded as his by right.

4 Hom. Il. 11.542. Only the first verse is given in the received text of Homer; the second is not found in any of the mss. The reference is to Cebriones, a son of Priam slain by Patroclus.

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