Purity and Civility in The Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus and Of Cannibals by Michel de Montaigne

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Purity and Civility in The Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus and Of Cannibals by Michel de Montaigne

Both in “The Praise of Folly” by Desiderius Erasmus and “Of Cannibals”

by Michel de Montaigne-relating to the common point to which attention

is tried to be drawn-inquiry of true civility with regards to the

Nature and its necessity according to certain circumstances are

substantiated.

First of all,Erasmus stating “Truly,to destroy the illusion is to

upset the whole play.The masks and costumes are precisely what hold

the eyes of the spectators.” Aspires to put forward the idea that

there is a definite pact between people-which can be rather called as

a concious illusion-on wearing veils of wisdom,called roles just as if

they were performing a play.Under these veils,probably lies something

much more different than what is seen on the stage;a virtuous man may

be a wretched being or a king may be a beggar in fact.

Just like this case,in “Of Cannibals”,Michel de Montaigne implies

ironically by the statement:

“All this is not too bad-but what’s the use?They don’t wear breeches.”

That although costumes or breeches,which are taken as a token for

civility,may turn out to be just the opposite.They are veils under

which true identities and intentions are concealed.However,then the

question what makes a person sensible-in other words both natural and

spontaneous in manners is aroused.Montaigne makes his point explicitly

on this matter.Regarding the community of the newly discovered

land,which is Brasilia and the natives’ manners which are innate and

not cultivated,he reasons that not to offend the Nature but to yield

to Her is the c...

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... to a

some extent as the natives in the newly discovered land do not have

neither any social norms nor any social institutions.They live

simply,not distorted with any kind of artifice,although they live as

uncivilized people – which is called by the modern man with respect to

the rules of reason and manners – they never offend their origin,which

is the Nature and perhaps live more civilly than modern man with

regards to their purity.

In conclusion,it is to be confessed that costumes or roles of the man

do not necesssarily signify one’s civility and purity.They are only

veils that are sometimes worn on purpose,sometimes by obligation.What

is to be seen as purity of intentions and happiness is the closeness

to the Nature and keeping away from evil deeds to gain too much

wisdom,which only bring misery to human life.

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