A Definition Essay On Courage

Courage is the act of doing something whilst knowingly putting yourself in danger of some sort or other. The higher the chances of danger and the higher the risks, then the more courage it requires. This is especially true if there is no direct payoff for the person being courageous. Here I show a few examples featuring possible courage, featuring real courage and featuring cowardice.

Je Suis Charlie were using their right to free expression

The comical writing company “Je Suis Charlie” were not heroes or courageous, they were simply expressing their right to free expression. Expressing yourself in a free country SHOULDN’T be an act of courageousness.

In hindsight, the people at Je Suis Charlie were courageous since they were killed for writing whatever they please. But, maybe they trusted their own government to protect them against being killed by people with contradictory views.

Mark Zuckerberg is a coward

This is the guy that owns and runs Facebook. He issued a strongly worded statement against the people that killed staff members at Je Suis Charlie, and yet he is now censoring images of the prophet Muhammad. This means that Facebook is either run by cowards, or it has become a Muslim social media network because only Muslims are not allowed to show/create images depicting Muhammad.

A real example of courage

Being courageous means doing something without a direct benefit to yourself, and doing it for other people, such as doing it for an ideal. There is an Iranian political cartoonist called Mahmoud Shokraye. In 2012 he was sentenced to 25 lashes because he drew a comical cartoon. It showed the conservative Member of Parliament called Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani in a soccer shirt. He was making fun of the fact the politician keeps switching sides like a soccer player.

Mahmoud Shokraye knew that creating the cartoon may land him in jail and maybe even execution and yet he still did it because he wanted to express himself. People in other countries take free expression for granted, and yet here is a man that was whipped 25 times because he made gentle fun of a politician. It is good to see that courage exists in this way, especially when people such as Mark Zuckerberg are helping to remove the rights of free expression from people that have it already.


Courage is something a person does that poses a risk or holds some sort of danger. The more danger that is involved, then the higher the level of courage needed. This is especially true if a person receives no direct benefit from being courageous. For example, the people fighting in World War II, on all sides, were being courageous because they were doing something they thought was right for the people of their own country. There were people that fought in the war that were courageous because they were fighting to help or protect the people in their own country. There was no direct benefit to those that fought, but they still did their job for the people of their own country, which means they were courageous in their actions.

Free Definition Essay - The Meaning of Courage

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The Meaning of Courage

In life there are many terms that are relative to individual cultures. That means that the definition is different depending on the culture's location and its persons believe. The definition for one such term, courage, as defined by both Daniel Webster and Funk & Wagnalls is "That quality of mind or spirit enabling one to meet danger or difficulties/ opposition with firmness/fearlessness." The words that make courage a relative term are danger and opposition.

The definitions of those words are what determine if a person or an act is considered to be foolhardy, courageous, or cowardice. Those labels change from society to society because people possess varying ideas as to what is danger and opposition means. For example, there are many types of people who encounter danger regularly like police, firefighters, cultural tribes, religious groups, teachers, advocates, doctors and nurses, criminals, and everyday people. Contrasting the difference in the type of danger encountered by each group shows what makes courage different. The difference between the danger for the police and the danger for the criminals is that one is done without a valid reason. The danger for the criminals is created by themselves and therefore even though they encounter danger it is not courageous. It on the other hand is either foolhardy or cowardice. Actions like killing sprees or random slashing are considered foolhardy because the persons responsible are taking unnecessary risk. These actions can also be considered to be cowardice because the people responsible are generally either unwilling to face the consequences for their actions or unwilling to face the underlying reasons for their bursts of violence. In my mind and most other westernized cultured people minds, I am correct because criminal acts are not generally accepted nor rewarded in our society. However, in the eyes of a criminal his/her acts are courageous and are accepted and rewarded with some exceptions such as rape.

When we look at actions of some cultural tribes we generally judge their actions towards certain opposition as foolhardy. Actions like hunting styles or tribal initiations are judged to foolhardy because they are things that we as western civilized people do not do. We judge others ways of doing things and we completely ignore the fact that they are customs that have existed for many years and they are necessary for each cultures' survival.

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For example, hunting a lion because he stole a cow might be considered to be beyond courageous because it seems foolish to risk one's life over a cow. Some people might say to just let it go. However, they would be saying this without understanding that the lion would come again and again unless he was stopped the first time. In this case it is not just act of foolishness but one of courage. Another example would be the way that the lion was hunted. We would consider hunting with a spear to be even more foolish because we would expect that if you were to be so foolish as to hunt a lion that you would be better off to use a gun. However, that assumption again goes without having the knowledge and experiences that show why a spear works fine for hunting. We would make that assumption of hunting with a spear to be foolish while the culture that hunts with the spear might classify us as cowards for hunting with a gun.

These different views of courage are generated because of everyone's cultural perspective. Generally when we analyze a situation we do not factor in the fact that we bring our experiences and our personal and cultural beliefs into the picture. That outside importation corrupts our views we start out with predefined notions of what is courage, what are right and wrong, and what makes sense. We sometimes forget that there are a variety of ways to handle a situation and the fact that each culture chooses there own way is what makes up different cultures.

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