Aristotle On Ridicule


In book Four, Chapter Eight of the Ethics, Aristotle applies his philosophical ideals to the concept of humor and good company. He establishes categories and kinds of humor or wit, and sets limits for the behavior that a gentleman and a wise man will accept. At one point, however, he makes the admission that it’s hard to define when ridicule is appropriate. Because people react to ridicule in different ways, according to their temperament.
This paper will examine the second paragraph of Book Four, Chapter Eight, to determine what it is about “ridicule” that causes Aristotle to break away from his usual method of analysis to consider other ways of looking at the problem. Specifically, ...

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The paragraph begins with indirect definitions of two extremes of humor, the buffoon and the humorless person. A buffoon would rather be a fool and hurt people’s feelings than “fail to raise a laugh”. A man who never cracks a joke is also falling short of the appropriate behavior, which is the gentleman’s ability to give and take gentle humor in a conversation. A “wit” is someone “whose pleasantries do not go too far,” and is always ready with a witty remark or a pleasant joke:
...as to the middle state in dealing with the humorous,
particularly characteristic of that is social tact or
address, which may be defined as the gift of saying just
the right things for a gentleman to say and of getting
others to say such things to him.
This seems to be the meaning of “good or bad company,” where a person gives and takes pleasure in conversation with others, according to the situation and the subject.
Aristotle defines ridicule, he says that it is a form of “abuse or ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 12/8/2005 07:12:57 AM
Category: English
Type: Free Paper
Words: 891
Pages: 4

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