Erasmus - Justin Dooley Development of Europe 1 Alla...

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Justin Dooley Development of Europe 1 Alla Gaydukova Paper 2 The Praise of Folly Folly Knows Desiderius Erasmus was sympathetic to the normal imperfections of man but was intolerant of irresponsible actions. He was very critical of every kind of person he could categorize. He criticized every social class and even himself. He challenged the authority of political and religious structures by showing how they can be hypocritical, naive, foolish, greedy, and ignorant. In his work The Praise of Folly, written during the early 16 th century, he analyzed the difference between the wise and the foolish, the weak and the strong, the poor and the rich. In this work of satire Erasmus took on the voice of Folly, a fictional goddess of foolishness he created. Folly claims that all men are in some way fools and therefore her followers. She seems to feel unappreciated and deems it necessary to “blow her own horn” (Erasmus 8). She takes credit for her influence by discussing the foolishness of many different people. She demonstrates her power on people by discussing how every person can be foolish and how people are swayed by foolishness. Often enough she claims to have influenced the most powerful people such as nobleman, royalty, and members of the clergy. Using this clever method of satire Erasmus can point out the shortcomings of these powerful people and express his concerns on the way they use their power. His concerns on religion reflect an intellectual outlook and he uses Folly to show what he believes the role of the church should be in peoples’ lives.
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Erasmus expresses his sympathy to the normal imperfections of human nature when Folly states “it’s the nature of human life that no individual can be found who’s not subject to great vices and faults,” (Erasmus 21). Yet, while being sympathetic to this basic nature Folly is clearly used to point out that even people who are supposed to be free of vices actually cannot avoid having them. She states that no member of the clergy actually is free of vices and most do not even make an attempt to replicate the life of the
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2008 for the course HISTORY 205 taught by Professor - during the Summer '07 term at Rutgers.

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Erasmus - Justin Dooley Development of Europe 1 Alla...

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