Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Montaigne's Views on Auto-da-fé in Candide

After reading the first 12 chapters of Candide, we have already had several instances of sinners being burned alive on the stake which is also called Auto-da-fé.  For example, the two Jewish men were burned for not eating bacon and a man was burned for marrying his god mother.  Montaigne in "Of Cannibals" talked about the Europeans' cruel ways of punishing by burning sinners alive.  He completely disagreed with it and felt that burning people alive like it was done in Europe was much more barbaric than eating people once they were dead like it was done in the New World.  It is interesting that we can see Montaigne's description of European barbaric punishment in action throughout the beginning of Candide.  At the end of chapter 12 of Candide, we see the characters Candide, Cunégonde, and the old lady are on a boat to the New World.  It will be interesting to see if anything is mentioned in the upcoming chapters of Candide of people being eaten by cannibals after they are dead in the New World like Montaigne talks about.

1 comment:

Michell D said...

Well, we did end up seeing people being eaten by cannibals later on, and sure enough they were really logical and arguably peaceful people, or at least more so than the Europeans. You hear about all these inquisitions and harsh practices of religious wars around this time and you have to think to yourself “where is all the peace that religion preaches?” I definitely think that this is a criticism of the harshness of the church. Montaigne has the right idea when he says that it is wrong to treat people so badly, especially when you are usually preaching the exact opposite.