His essay challenged the haughty denigration of the Brazilian cannibals that had grown to be so common among Montaigne's contemporaries, but not by arguing that cannibalism was a morally acceptable practice....
Shakespeare's borrowing in from Montaigne's essay "Cannibals" has been generally assumed to be concentrated in one short passage as given in John Florio's English translation (1603). This article demonstrates that the second half of Gonzalo's utopian speech in fact derives not from this famous passage but from another substantially longer one found two pages later in Florio's original folio text. It also proposes that Shakespeare had inspirations for the name and characterization of Sycorax as well as the setting of Prospero's island from this Montaigne-Florio essay; and that this essay should be reconsidered as a far more important literary source of than heretofore acknowledged.
Montaigne s "Of Cannibals" Essay - 541 Words
Shakespeare uses Montaigne's essay "On Cannibals" (as translated by John Florio) in , notably at the point when the "good old Gonzalo" tries to cheer up King Alonso by describing the ideal commonwealth he would institute on the island (2.1.152-73).
"Shakespeare's Natives: Ariel and ..
In August of 1563, Michel de Montaigne, the famous French essayist, was introduced to three Brazilian cannibals who were visiting Rouen, France, at the invitation of King Charles the Ninth. The three men had never before left Brazil, had just been subjected to a long interrogation by the king (who was 13 years old at the time), and if they had not already contracted some dangerous European illness, they were surely undergoing a rather severe case of culture shock. Despite this, they still had enough poise to lucidly respond to Montaigne’s questions about what they thought of their new surroundings.
SparkNotes: Robinson Crusoe: Themes, Motifs & Symbols
Montaigne records these observations in an essay entitled, “Des Cannibales.” Well ahead of its time, the essay challenges the haughty denigration of cannibals that was so common among Montaigne’s contemporaries, but not by arguing that cannibalism itself is a morally acceptable practice. Instead, Montaigne makes the more provocative claim that, as barbaric as these Brazilian cannibals may be, they are not nearly as barbaric as 16th-century Europeans themselves. To make his case, Montaigne cites various evidence: the wholesome simplicity and basic nobility of native Brazilian life; the fact that some European forms of punishment — which involved feeding people to dogs and pigs while they were still alive — were decidedly more horrendous than the native Brazilian practice of eating one’s enemies after they are dead; and the humane, egalitarian character of the Brazilians’ moral sensibility, which was on display in their recorded observations.
The fact that, despite all this, 16th-century Western Europeans remained so deeply convinced of their own moral and intellectual superiority was, to Montaigne, evidence of a more general phenomenon. He writes:
Description and explanation of the major themes of Robinson Crusoe
(1879) has something of the same sense of aimlessness and introspection as , but it lacks the other's high spirits. Its more somber, melancholy tone is due to the fact that Stevenson had fallen in love, and the relationship was a difficult one. On a trip to a French artists' colony in July 1876 with his cousin Bob, Stevenson had met Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, a married woman, an American, and ten years Stevenson's senior. She had been living in Paris and had come to the sleepy summer colony of Grez to recuperate after the death of her son. By the time she returned to America in 1878, Stevenson had fallen deeply in love with her; he undertook his walking tour through the mountains in France in part as a restorative to his emotional life.