Study Guide for Montaigne "On Cannibals" (1580)


  1. How does Montaigne define "barbarism"?
  2. How would Montaigne redefine our understanding of the word "wild"?
  3. What, then, according to Montaigne, allows societies of the New World to surpass the Golden Age?
  4. Describe some of the physical details of the natives way of life which support  Montaigne's contention?
  5. Why, according to Montaigne, do these natives engage in cannibalism?
  6. Why does he consider this form of cruelty less harsh than those practiced in 'civilized' Europe?
  7. What is the goal of warfare in tribal society and how does it differ from the goals of European warfare?