Nicomachean Ethics, IV.
vGentleness is the observance of the mean in Gentleness or Good-temper relation to anger. There is as a matter of fact no recognized name for the mean in this respect—indeed there can hardly be said to be names for the extremes either—, so we apply the word Gentleness to the mean though really it inclines to the side of 2the defect. This has no name, but the excess may be called a sort of Irascibility, for the emotion concerned is anger, though the causes producing it are many and various.
3Now we praise a man who feels anger on the right grounds and against the right persons, and also in the right manner and at the right moment and for the right length of time. He may then be called gentle-tempered, if we take gentleness to be a praiseworthy quality (for ‘gentle’ really denotes a calm temper, not led by emotion but only becoming angry in such a manner, for such causes and for such 4a length of time as principle may ordain; although the quality is thought rather to err on the side of defect, since the gentle-tempered man is not prompt to seek redress for injuries, but rather inclined to forgive them).
5The defect, on the other hand, call it a sort of Lack of Spirit. Lack of Spirit or what not, is blamed; since those who do not get angry at things at which it is right to be angry are considered foolish, and so are those who do not get angry in the right manner, at the 6right time, and with the right people. It is thought that they do not feel or resent an injury, and that if a man is never angry he will not stand up for himself; and it is considered servile to put up with an insult to oneself or suffer one’s friends to be insulted.
7Excess also is possible in each of these ways, for