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THE “GOLDEN MEAN”

a. How does Aristotle define his “Golden Mean?”
b. Why does Aristotle claim that we ought to practice the “Golden Mean?”
c. What are the three “General Rules” that Aristotle suggests we follow in trying to practice the “Golden Mean?”
d. Give three examples from your own life in which you think you ought to practice the “Golden Mean” and
explain why.

  1. FRIENDSHIP
    Instructions: Write a 2-3 page essay (more if you like) on Aristotle’s views on Friendship by answering the
    following questions. Be sure to include ample quotations from the reading and illustrative examples from your
    own life experience to support your essay.
    a. How does Aristotle define “perfect friendship?” Do you agree? Why or why not?
    b. Do you agree with Aristotle’s claim that friendship should be based on self-love? Why or why not?
    c. Do you think you can live a happy life without “perfect friendships” or BFFs? Why or why not?

Sample Solution

The Masque of the Red Death is the ultimate example of how inferior humans try to overcome against their final destiny, and greatest demon: Death itself. The Prince Prospero laughs at Death "while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad…he entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence." (83). The prince believes that his special group of nobles is exempt from the suffering occurring around them, and can celebrate with ease. Prince Prospero imagines that he is not destined to die like the others, and so fortifies himself with false illusions that depict harmony and pleasure. These illusions, however, are all stripped away when the ebony clock chimes and "…the giddiest grew pale, and the more age and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation." (85) The people realize that to evade death is the greatest risk one can take, and the clock is reminding them of how futile this gesture is. When the clock's chime fades away, the people forget about their inevitable demise and go back to believing that they are invincible, only to be reminded an hour later when the clock strikes again. After midnight tolls, a ghastly figure appears who had "…out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince's indefinite decorum." (87). The figure is the messenger of Death himself, coming to destroy the inferior beings that do not fall beneath its supreme power. The prince is the first to die, as he was the one who believed wholeheartedly that he could evade the End. When all of the nobles are vanquished, Death gloats in silence about its triumph over those who believed they could substitute suffering for pleasure, and how it is the only dominant factor in the world. Mankind has tried to conquer its hidden demons because it is afraid of them. But despite all of the technological advances that have been made, they are still being undermined by emotional demons like jealousy, hatred, and arrogance. The human race fears these demons for they unleash the worst qualities in people, and can not be conquered by the machines that are revered so much. It is naïve of humans to believe that they can ever vanquish the demons that lurk within their souls, but they are intent on driving out any human qualities that would make them imperfect. Yet they do not realize that imperfection is humanity's greatest trait and weakness at the same time, and that these demons exist to make this fact obvious to all. Analysis This sample high school English essay sufficiently argues that when man attempts to combat fate, obsession and death, he is ultimately destroyed. The essay is simply organized, with each paragraph devoted to a short story. The paragraph on the Masque of the Red Death is the essay's strong point, perhaps because Poe's story is the most explicit about what happens when people try to combat one of these "demons."
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