Montaignes Description Of Barbarism - Essay Example

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The paper "Montaigne’s Description Of Barbarism" discusses how Michel de Montaigne in his essay defines barbarism. He defends the non-Europeans of the ‘new world’ and further proclaims that it is his own society that is corrupt and barbaric in its ideals…
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Montaignes Description Of Barbarism
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Montaigne’s Description Of Barbarism
In his essay ‘of cannibals’, Michel de Montaigne sets out to define barbarism. In the essays, he suggests that people consider something as barbaric when it is unknown to them (Montaigne). He defends the non-Europeans of the ‘new world’ and further proclaims that it is his own society that is corrupt and barbaric in its ideals. Montaigne argues that Europeans are guilty of practicing murder and cruelty and therefore the assumption that European civilization was superior to tribal cultures was dubious.
In his description of the Brazilian cannibals, he portrays them in three definitions. He first asserts them as non-barbaric who are unlike the Europeans (Montaigne). He noted that there was nothing barbaric in their nation except that everyone holds their own view of what barbarism is based on their practice. Second, he views them as non-barbaric people who best embodied the traditional European values. He elevates the Brazilian people above the Europeans as he views their life as reflective of true nature and original ideal of human community (Montaigne). Third, he sees them as barbaric people who are diametrically opposite to Europeans. He argues that unlike Europeans, Brazilian people were not fighting to conquer new lands as they enjoyed what nature offered to them.
Montaigne places a back and forth argument in his essay that seeks to provide distinction between the lives of Brazilians to the Europeans. In his essay he depicts both the cannibals and Europeans as barbaric people who eventually share similar traits. According to Montaigne’s argument, none of the two cultures is greater than the other and barbarism is what people make of what they do not know.
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