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Montaigne essay on cruelty summary

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I am not so anxious that we should note the horrible savagery of these acts as concerned that, whilst judging their faults so correctly, we should be so blind to our own. The word "Savagery," n. The French origin of this word is especially interesting considering Montaigne composed his Essays in the French vernacular. In one definition it means: the quality of being fierce, or the condition of being primitive or uncivilized. The mere thought of eating the flesh of your enemy is certainly fierce and uncivilized. In this particular passage, Montaigne is alluding to the fact that fighting between "civilized" men, likely referring to the ongoing wars on his own continent, were more savage and inhumane than any cannibalistic activity abroad in the New World.
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Annotations - Montaigne's Cannibals: An e-Book

I have often heard it said that cowardice is the mother of cruelty; and I have found by experience that malicious and inhuman animosity and fierceness are usually accompanied with feminine weakness. I have seen the most cruel people, and upon frivolous occasions, apt to cry. Alexander, the tyrant of Pheres, durst not be a spectator of tragedies in the theatre, for fear lest his citizens should see him weep at the misfortunes of Hecuba and Andromache, who himself without pity caused so many people every day to be murdered. Is it not meanness of spirit that renders them so pliable to all extremities?
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Montaigne, philosopher of life, part 5: Humanity, cruelty and fellow-feeling

His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes [8] and autobiography with intellectual insight. His massive volume Essais contains some of the most influential essays ever written. During his lifetime, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman than as an author. The tendency in his essays to digress into anecdotes and personal ruminations was seen as detrimental to proper style rather than as an innovation, and his declaration that, "I am myself the matter of my book", was viewed by his contemporaries as self-indulgent. In time, however, Montaigne came to be recognized as embodying, perhaps better than any other author of his time, the spirit of freely entertaining doubt that began to emerge at that time.
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A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. Montaigne: Selected Essays comes from the pen of Michel de Montaigne , a 16th-century French jurist, advisor, and diplomat whose many adventures would make a compelling autobiography. Instead, Montaigne writes a series of short works that examine his innermost thoughts and feelings, attitudes and beliefs, preferences and daily habits. His attitude is tolerant and open-minded for his era, and his ideas and insights remain relevant today.
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