Aristotle's Definition of Happiness and Acts of Kindness in the Story

Classified in Philosophy and ethics

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In order to achieve happiness

, Aristotle believed it is necessary to live our lives in accordance to reasons and virtues. Intelligence and virtue are these fundamental ideas he believed can help us become the “supreme good”. Furthermore, happiness seems to be more of a pursuit rather than a state of being. Hence, I believe his definition of happiness lies on the dependency of ourselves. If we were to choose a virtuous path, it can give us the best way to live our lives and more importantly, finding our true form of happiness in the process.


is the pursuit of true happiness in our lives. For Aristotle, he believed we should obtain good habits; helping others in need in order to bring greatness into our lives. By displaying many good deeds, not only we can build a virtuous character, but we can find peace in ourselves through the state of eudaimonia. However, some individuals whom devoted their lives to acquire things like wealth or fame could only be limited to seeking satisfaction or in this case, pleasure. These necessities do not make us humans, but rather represents us as animals of our societies—living on our biological needs and satisfaction. Therefore, these goals do not reflect our true happiness nor the life we were meant for.

In the story

, the Bishop has shown kindness towards Jean through several virtuous acts. For instance, when Jean encountered the Bishop’s home, he was welcome with food and a bed made for the poor man. Rather than asking for the poor man’s name, the Bishop understood the man’s suffering and began to comfort Jean by telling him he is more than welcome to be in the Bishop’s home. Later when Jean was brought back to the Bishop’s house with his silverware he had stolen, the Bishop acknowledges his wrongdoings and replied, “you forgot the candlestick.” This response had brought goodness into Jean’s heart in which he vowed to the Bishop that he will use the silverware to become an honest man. Hence, this act was what led Bishop later described it as “buying his soul” which helped the poor man redeem himself to become good rather than evil. Nevertheless, the Bishop restores Jean’s faith by showing kindness within these scenes of the story.

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