Montaigne Exercise: "Of Cannibals" and The Tempest
Step One: Note that Montaigne's name is pronounced "mon TEN." Appoint someone in your group to facilitate discussion.
Step Two: Look carefully at the following pars. for parallels to The Tempest: What inter-textual connections do you find? How can M's essay inform our reading of S's play? Consider things like human nature, civilization, lifestyle, warfare, relativism, and others. Make as many connections as you can.
Par. 9 ("Now, to return")
Par. 19 ("Each man brings")
Par. 10 ("These nations, then"); see also Gonzalo at 2.1.150-70.
Pars. 21-22 ("Indeed, Chrysippius" and "So we may well call")
Par. 31 ("I have a song")
Par. 33 ("Our wives will cry 'Miracle!'")
Par. 35 ("Three of these men")
Step Three: What do you make of the following homology?
M's natives:Caliban::M's Europeans:Antonio and Sebastian
Re. Caliban, are Gonzalo and Montaigne wrong to suppose that uncivilized man is purer, more innocent, and more virtuous than civilized man? Or does Caliban negatively illustrate the Europeans' corrupting influence?
Step Four: Each of you--each person in each group--should write down a single sentence that encapsulates the "moral" of Montaigne's essay. In other words, what is the main point that you take away from it? (You will share your views, and we will talk about how M's moral might also be S's moral.)