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5 Paragraph Essay about Courage

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General George S. Patton once said that “courage is fear holding on a minute longer”, a statement that seems natural coming from such a famous American hero. It’s easy to speak of courage when one has it and to write off fear as something that is easily dealt with. It’s far more difficult for the non-heroes of the world to define what courage is and to brush off their fears for long enough to find out. By simple definition, courage is the ability to face difficulty, pain, and danger without fear. But this does not truly reach the depths of courage, which as a concept is much deeper and harder to define than many realize.

The word courage comes from the Latin root cor, meaning heart, and the old French word courage. The middle English adaptation of the word into courage, with its modern meaning, occurred in the late fourteenth century (“Courage”). The modern definition assumes courage to be on a physical level. It is a vision of valorous and fearless mythological heroes fighting monsters and wars, facing impossible task after impossible task. These ideas are familiar and lend themselves to another word, bravery. Many people believe bravery and courage to be synonymous. At a first glance, the two are almost identical in definition, with only one notable difference. Bravery better describes a singular or limited number of acts of fearlessness, with common expressions like “what you did there was really brave” encompassing the meaning of the word. Courage is a character trait that some come by naturally and that others spend their entire lives trying to achieve. Unlike the one-sided modern definition many believe, Courage is an inner strength, one that is first and foremost vulnerable and bare-hearted. It is the ability to be unashamedly true to one’s self in all situations, even in the face of fears.

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Courage is not living without fear, because courage feeds from fear. It has never required one to be a famous fighter or general, or a part of a global conflict. It does not require a deadly personal sacrifice or the sacrifice of others. Courage does not have one singular meaning, as it appears in all kinds of situations. There are six different kinds of courage: physical, social, intellectual, moral, emotional, and spiritual (“Six Types of Courage”). Physical courage is the combat prowess people often think of, heroes taking action in the face of harm and death. Social courage is overcoming the fears of exclusion, unpopularity, and rejection, to showcase one’s true self. Intellectual courage is the willingness to challenge ideas and speak out, even at the risk of being wrong or radical. The moral variant concerns one’s views of right and wrong and their steadfast nature even under the intense pressure of others. The emotional form is openness to the full spectrum of emotion, allowing both the positive and negative ones to be felt fully. Lastly, spiritual courage is being able to question faith and purpose in life, in both a religious manner and a non-religious one.

Courage in all its forms has always been the most crucial factor for change. In 30 AD, arguably the most influential figure of all time, Jesus Christ, was crucified for having the spiritual and intellectual courage to spread his ideas and faith to people all across the continent. His acts inspired similar ones in his followers and gained him an even greater following after his death, leading to the rise of Christianity. In more modern times, courage has redefined the livelihood of an entire race of people. During the 1960’s civil rights activists such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., who up until then had been ordinary citizens, gathered the courage to push for social change and equality. Their actions ultimately resulted in the successful change of the U.S Constitution. This doesn’t mean that the everyday forms of courage are any less impactful. The courage shown by even a regular person can change lives and even save them. A teenager could have the moral courage to speak out against a bully, even a popular one, and side with a hurting classmate, preventing them from falling into suicidal tendencies. A man on his way to work can have the physical courage to put himself in danger to save a distracted stranger from being run over by a car. A closed-off woman can have the emotional courage to be vulnerable and cry in front of her family for the first time in ages. All it takes is one tiny second of overcoming fear to make a difference.

In the end, even with dictionaries, quotes from respected generals, and the works of philosophers and scholars, courage remains an intangible concept that many struggles to define. Above all else, it stems from vulnerable self-acceptance, not some impossible standard of strength and fearlessness. On many occasions, it’s a simple decision made in a split second, with no perceived notion of valor or heroism to be found. It has long been depicted as one of the most desired traits of humanity, one that has the potential to be found within every single person in the world. The ideas of courage have stood the test of time and will continue to live on, as humans will always be able to find the ability to have the courage within their hearts.

Works Cited

  1. “Courage (n.).” Index,
  2. Patton, George S. “George S. Patton Quotes.” BrainyQuote, Xplore,
  3. “The Six Types of Courage.” Lion’s Whiskers,

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5 Paragraph Essay about Courage. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
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