Does suffering strengthen character? Not really. Suffering is never an end in itself. The avoidance of suffering is a goal–but not the primary one. Living a happy, self-interested and rational life is the overriding goal (and the purpose of morality). Doing so tends to lead to little suffering, or to less suffering than otherwise would be the case. Therefore, it’s a contradiction to say “suffering strengthens character.” The only way to build character is to be rational, self-responsible and capable. These things tend NOT to lead to suffering. Sometimes suffering, disappointment and failure are part of the process. Once they occur, it’s healthy to view these things as opportunities to become stronger and wiser. But you’d never seek these things out. You don’t have to depend on failure in order to do well.