Aristotle Critical Lens

“Though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honor the truth first. ” Often times in life, one is caught in a sticky situation. While morals and values and normally highly regarded, complications arise when friendships are involved. Relationships are an essential part of existence, the emotional connections are often the ones that shape our lives.. One if often faced with the difficult toss up between doing what is right and doing what you want. It’s a balancing out between the loyalty to your friends and maintaining your morals.
I agree with this quote because piety is the quality of being religious or reverent. In order to be religious one must follow a moral code and not put worldly relationships or emotions as higher priority than the truth. An example of the struggle to find the balance is displayed in After Twenty Years by O’ Henry and Lord of the Flies by William Golding. An example of this struggle is exemplified in “After Twenty Years” by O’Henry. Two friends separated by years, miles, and jaded by their experiences since the last time they’ve met, are scheduled to reunite and rekindle the friendship they once had.
The way Bob describes their friendship it was almost as if they were blood brothers, bonded together so tightly it was as if they were family. He even refers to his old pal Jimmy as the “truest and stanchest old chap in the world. ” This foreshadows that he was going to remain true to his morals as opposed to honoring the friendship. His diction and use of kind words describing his friend even after twenty years of absence really exemplifies the strength of their friendship.

True friends are a constant in your life and even though they may not be physically present, they will always have a special place in your heart. Another example of the foreshadowing of what’s to come is the intrigue the police officer seems to have with the man’s story. He seems much to inquisitive to just be a random stranger. You can see that he is generally interested in what has happened since his friend departed, and just the mere fact that he was present where he said he would be 20 years prior shows the true and honest man he is.
And yet, when given the choice between preserving the friendship so long in the making, and doing what is right and turning his old friend in for being a criminal, he, being a police officer understands the importance of abiding by the law and chooses to turn his friend in to the authorities. While this must have been a difficult choice, this is shown because he couldn’t even break the news to him himself and needed to deflect the position onto someone else, he did what he felt was right and lived according to Aristotle’s quote. In Lord of the Flies, Ralph represents the traditional government in society.
He maintains order, preserves the dignity of the union, and attempts to preserve the traditions of his forefathers. A schism occurs in this allegory within the tribe with Jack leading half and Ralph leading the others. This is symbolic of mankind and how savagery and civilization exist in unity. When savagery threatens the way of things, many fear for their own lives and safety and begin to cross over to “the dark side”. When the tribal chants and Jack’s need to kill becomes apparent, this foreshadows the savage turn in which the book will take.
At the end, all the characters have either perished in the fighting or followed Jack to preserve their own lives, all except Ralph. Though he lost many followers and his high ranking “popularity” within the group, he maintains his morals and ultimately does what he believes is right regardless of the consequences. While this may a controversial issue and falls into the abstract gray area as opposed to a clear cut black and white, it cannot be denied that these two men upholded their morals and did not compromise the lessons instilled in them.
What is also evident is that these men did follow a moral code which would classify as being religious, or pious. Even today the struggle between doing what you want and what you need to do is seen in court cases where one does not want to incriminate a friend, or even in your everyday life where a student might witness their fellow classmate cheating. This brings us to the question: If put into the circumstance, which will you honor first, truth or friendship?

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