Courage Essay

451 Words2 Pages
“I wanted to learn from you not only what constitutes courage for a hoplite but for a horseman as well...and I wanted to include not only those who are courageous in warfare but also those who are brave in dangers at sea, and the ones who show courage in illness and poverty and affairs of state.” (Laches 191d) Socrates is questioning Laches on what it is exactly that constitutes as courage and later in 191e cowardice. Socrates and Laches both offer definitions of courage in the context of war, but Socrates holds the understanding that courage may come in many forms outside of war. Courage and cowardliness may occur in pleasure, desire, pain, or fear as Socrates describes it and Laches agrees, but the root at which Socrates gravitates to is that Laches has no measurement of courage or cowardice. Socrates uses the example of speed. Stating that it can be found in many instances such as running or speech; that it is a quality defined by how it is expressed and that is how courage is to be measured. Laches goes further to say that it must then be an, “Endurance of the soul” (Laches 192c). Socrates was in search for a definite answer or measurement for courage and cowardice while Laches took the less explainable path providing the better answer. Courage and cowardliness are qualities that are undefinable in a logical sense. The ability to measure courage or cowardliness is not the same for each person, but there is a common trait linking all cases together.1 If we were to strictly define courage and cowardice there would be many cases of confusion in self definition. There are periods in life in which we all experience courage and cowardice, and those periods may seem minuet or massive in the eyes of others. Who are we to say that someone was or was not courageous or that they are a coward. For example, Socrates and Laches begin by attaching courage to war and

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