Renaissance Humanism In 'The Praise Of Folly'

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Erasmus, a Renaissance humanist, portrays folly as a character named so in The Praise of Folly to show his appreciation for the role foolishness plays in the human life. For all earthly existence, Erasmus’s Folly states that “you'll find nothing frolic or fortunate that it owes not to me [folly]” (The Praise of Folly, 14). Moreover, she states that “fools are so vastly pleasing to God; the reason being, I suggest, that just as great princes look suspiciously on men who are too clever, and hate them – as Julius Caesar suspected and hated Brutus and Cassius while he did not fear drunken Antony at all…they take delight in duller and simpler souls” (Folly, 115). Folly, indeed, plays a major role in determining the fate of Antony and Brutus after…show more content…
// I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts: //…But as you know me all, a plain blunt man //… For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, // …I only speak right on” (JC, 3.2.210-225) clearly expresses his self-love and his adaptability as he paves the path for his own political interests by cleverly playing it respectful of the conspirators yet turning the Romans against them while keeping his position completely neutral and safe. On the other hand, Brutus’s use of appeal to logic, unlike Antony, at his eulogy for Caesar’s funeral, “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more //…As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; // as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; // as he was valiant, I honour him: // but, as he was ambitious, I slew him” (JC, 3.2.20-30), leaves the mob more disturbed and bitter than ever before they succumb to Antony’s appeal to emotion as he continues to exploit their self-love. Brutus’s naïve belief that he has successfully justified his actions in the eyes of the Romans with such a short speech lacking any self-love is a sign of his naivety – a form of foolishness that lacks folly. On the other hand, Antony’s long speech is brave and fearless – a sign of a fool who embodies folly. According to Folly, “I [folly] is also the champion of prudence” (Folly, 27) as prudence is derived from experience, and men who lack…show more content…
This claim seems true as Brutus, who lacks folly, misunderstands Caesar’s folly, a dear friend, and results in conspiring to murder him. On the other hand, Antony, a man who dearly enjoys folly in the form of self-love, company, drinking, etc, attempts to avenge Caesar’s death. With his adaptability and self-love inspired by folly, he is able to win the Roman public sentiment while Brutus’s inflexibility and self-proclaimed wisdom earns him their hatred. As a results, as suggested by Folly, Brutus, a wise man, and his political career are doomed while Antony, a fool, continues to rule over the Romans with celebration with more
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