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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gentleness is a personal quality which can be part of one's character. It consists of kindness, consideration, and amiability.[1]

Aristotle used it in a technical sense as the virtue that strikes the mean with regard to anger: being too quick to anger is a vice, but so is being detached in a situation where anger is appropriate; justified and properly focused anger is named mildness or gentleness.[2]

Gentleness is not passive; it requires a resistance to brutality. Gentleness does not submit to tyranny, but it responds with a tender awareness of others’ experiences and pain.[3][fact or opinion?]

According to Bryant McGill[clarification needed], gentleness comes from releasing ourselves from desires, like wanting others to read our minds, seeking their attention, expecting continuous agreement, or wanting them to always please us. He suggests that focusing on wants creates an endless cycle, but by releasing and gently inviting, we can attain our goals.[4]

Another historical context for gentleness emerged in medieval times, associated with higher social classes. This is reflected in terms like gentleman, gentlewoman, and gentry. Over time, the concept of gentle behavior evolved from the literal gentry to the metaphorical "like a gentleman," applicable to anyone.[5]

For certain he hath seen all perfectness.
Who among other ladies hath seen mine:
They that go with her humbly should combine
To thank their God for such peculiar grace.
So perfect is the beauty of her face
That it begets in no wise any sigh
Of envy, but draws round her a clear line
Of love, and blessed faith, and gentleness.
Merely the sight of her makes all things bow:
Not she herself alone is holier
Than all: but hers, through her, are raised above.
From all her acts such lovely graces flow
That truly one may never think of her
Without a passion of exceeding love.

— Sonnet: Beauty Of Her Face, by Dante Alighieri[6]

Philosopher and psychoanalyst Anne Dufourmantelle wrote in her book, Power of Gentleness, that gentleness is, above all other things, a force of potentiality. Gentleness, she argued: "Is an enigma. It is taken up in the double movement of welcoming and giving, it appears on the threshold of passages signed off by birth and death. Because it has its degrees of intensity, because it is a symbolic force, and because it has a transformative ability over things and beings, it is a power."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gentleness". www.thefreedictionary.com.
  2. ^ Garrett, Jan (2005-11-28). "Virtue Ethics: A Basic Introductory Essay".
  3. ^ Tabib, Mia (November 2, 2020). "Tabib: Gentleness is a force". yaledailynews.com. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Lewis, C.S. (2001). Mere Christianity. San Francisco: Harper. pp. xiii. ISBN 978-0060652920.
  6. ^ Alighieri, Dante. "Sonnet: Beauty Of Her Face". www.allpoetry.com. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  7. ^ Dufourmantelle, Anne (2018). Power of Gentleness: Meditations on the Risk of Living. Translated by Payne, Katherine; Salle, Vincent. Fordham Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-7961-6. LCCN 2017962402.