Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XLVI.: OF ANGER AS IT IS IN ITSELF. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION XLVI.: OF ANGER AS IT IS IN ITSELF. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF ANGER AS IT IS IN ITSELF.
Article I.—Is anger a special passion?
R. Anger may be called a general passion inasmuch as it is caused by a concurrence of many passions: for the movement of anger does not arise except on account of some grief inflicted; and unless there be desire and hope of revenge.
Article II.—Is good or evil the object of anger?
R. The motion of anger tends in two directions—to the vengeance which is desired and hoped for and delighted in as a good thing; and also to the person upon whom vengeance is sought, considering him as something contrary and noxious, or evil. And therefore the passion of anger may be said to be made up of contrary passions.
Article III.—Is anger in the concupiscible faculty?
R. The passions of the irascible faculty differ from the passions of the concupiscible faculty in this, that the objects of the passions of the concupiscible faculty are good and evil absolutely: but the objects of the passions of the irascible faculty are good and evil of a certain elevation and arduousness. Now anger regards two objects, the vengeance that it seeks, and the person on whom it seeks vengeance; and in the case of both one and the other anger requires a certain arduousness: for the movement of anger does not arise unless there be some magnitude about both the person and the vengeance to be taken on him: for the things that are naught, or very slight, we nowise reckon worthy matter of anger. Hence it is manifest that anger is not in the concupiscible but in the irascible faculty.
Article IV.—Does reason go along with anger?
R. Anger is a desire of vengeance. That supposes a comparison between the penalty to be inflicted and the hurt done. Hence the Philosopher says that the angry man “in a manner by syllogism argues that he must go to war with such a one.”1 But to compare and conclude is an act of reason, and therefore in some manner reason goes along with anger.
§ 1. The movement of the appetitive faculty may be attended with reason in two ways: in one way with reason commanding, and so the will is with reason, hence it is called the rational appetite: in another way with reason notifying, and so anger is with reason: for the Philosopher says: “Anger is with reason as manifesting the injury:” for the sensitive appetite does not obey reason immediately, but mediately through the will.
§ 2. Dumb animals have a natural instinct put into them from the Divine Reason, whereby they have movements interior and exterior similar to the movements of reason.
§ 3. Anger listens in some degree to reason as announcing the injury done, but does not listen perfectly, because it does not observe the rule of reason in the meting out of vengeance. Therefore there is required for anger some act of reason, along with an impediment to reason. Hence the Philosopher says: “They who are very drunk do not get angry, as having nothing left of the use of reason; but when only slightly intoxicated, men get angry, as having the use of reason, though impeded.”
Article VI.—Is anger more gricvous than hatred?
R. The species of a passion and its essential character is estimated according to its object. Now the object of anger and of hatred is the same in substance, for as the hater wishes evil to him whom he hates, so does the angry man to him with whom he is angry, but the way of looking at it is not the same, for the hater wishes evil to his enemy as evil, but the angry man wishes evil to him with whom he is angry, not inasmuch as it is evil, but inasmuch as it bears a character of goodness, that is, inasmuch as he reckons it to be a piece of just vengeance. Hence hatred is by way of application of evil to evil, but anger by way of application of good to evil. But it is manifest that to seek evil under the aspect of a just infliction is a proceeding of less evil character than wishing another’s evil absolutely: for to wish another’s evil under the aspect of a just infliction may even be according to the virtue of justice, if it is in obedience to the precept of reason. The only point where anger is at fault is in not hearkening to the precept of reason in the vengeance that it takes. Hence it is manifest that hatred is much worse and more grievous than anger.
§ 1. On the text, “Anger hath no mercy, nor fury when it breaketh forth,”1 it is to be said that in anger and hatred two things may be considered, the thing itself that is desired, and the intensity of the desire. As regards the thing that is desired, anger has more mercy than hatred. For hatred, seeking another’s evil for its own sake as such, is satisfied with no limited measure of evil: since things that are sought for their own sake are sought without end or measure, just as the Philosopher says the miser seeks riches. Hence it is said: “An enemy, if he find opportunity, will not be satisfied with blood.”2 But anger does not seek evil except in the light of just vengeance: hence, when the evil inflicted exceeds the measure of justice in the estimate of the angry man, then he has mercy. Hence the Philosopher says that “the angry man, if much is done, will have mercy; but not the hater on any consideration.” But as regards intensity of desire, anger more than hatred excludes mercy, because the movement of anger is more impetuous: hence it is added: “Who can bear the violence of one provoked?”1
§ 2. It is of the nature of punishment to be contrary to the will, and to be distressing, and to be inflicted for some fault; and therefore the angry man desires that the person whom he is proceeding to hurt may feel it, and be in pain, and may know that this pain has come upon him for the injury that he has done to the other. But the hater cares nothing for all this, because he seeks another’s evil as such. It is not, however, the worse thing that is always the more distressing; for injustice and imprudence, evil things as they are, yet being voluntary, do not distress the subject of them, as the Philosopher remarks.
§ 4. Augustine in his Rule compares hatred to a “beam,” and anger to a “mote.”2
Article VII.—Is anger towards those only with whom we have relations of justice?
R. Anger seeks evil inasmuch as that evil is clothed in the character of vindictive justice, and therefore anger holds towards the same persons towards whom justice and injustice hold: for the taking of vengeance belongs to justice, and the injuring of any one belongs to injustice. Hence as well on the part of the cause of anger, which is injury inflicted by another, as on the part of the vengeance which the angry man seeks, it is manifest that anger is felt towards the same persons with whom we have relations of justice and injustice.
§ 1. Anger, though it goes with reason, nevertheless may be in dumb animals that are destitute of reason, inasmuch as by natural instinct through the imagination they are moved to something resembling the works of reason. So then, since there is reason and imagination in man, the movement of anger may arise in man in two ways. In one way, from the mere imagination notifying offence given; and thus arises a certain movement of anger even against irrational and inanimate things, like the motion that there is in dumb animals against anything that hurts them. In another way, from reason notifying hurt, and in this way there can be no anger against insensible things, nor against the dead, because they feel no pain, and there is no such thing as vengeance in their regard.
§ 2. There is a certain metaphorical justice and injustice of a man towards himself, inasmuch as reason rules the irascible and concupiscible faculties; and in this way a man is said to take vengeance on himself, and to be angry with himself: but properly, looking at things exactly as they are, no man is ever angry with himself.
§ 3. The Philosopher assigns as one difference between hatred and anger, that hatred may be felt towards a class, as we hate all the class of robbers, but anger is pointed only at an individual. The reason is, that hatred is caused by the quality of something apprehended as disagreeing with our disposition; and that disagreement may be either general or particular. But anger is caused by some one having injured us by his act: now acts are always the acts of individuals, and therefore anger always turns on some individual. When a whole community has injured us, the whole community counts as one individual.
[1 ]So in the original, Ethics, VII. vi. 1. (Trl.)
[1 ]Prov. xxvii. 4.
[2 ]Ecclus. xii. 16.
[1 ]Prov. xxvii. 4.
[2 ]The words are: “As for altercations, either have ye none, or end them as soon as may be, lest anger grow into hatred, and of a mote make a beam.” (Trl.)