Rhetorical Analysis Of The Damned Human Race

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In his satirical essay, “The Damned Human Race”, Mark Twain sets off on an uphill battle, to try and convince the entire human race to change its ways. Twain attempts to prove that morality, like any other virtue, has a dark side and this has been the cause of many of man’s problems. In a cynical tone, he uses extensive comparisons posed as experiments to point out the irony in Man’s decision to place themselves at the top of the hierarchy of all living things, based solely on their possession of a moral compass.

Twain first utilizes comparisons in the form of experiments to aid his argument about the selfish cruelty of man. In this essay, his first experiment is on greed. In the experiment he states that a buffalo hunt on the Great Plains
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Twain describes an experiment in which animals from different species are put in a cage together and they quickly learn to adapt to their surroundings and become friends. Meanwhile, a group of different religious leaders are placed in a cage together but after two days “not a specimen was left alive… [but had] carried the matter to a Higher Court (Twain).” After this experiment Twain concludes that “Man cannot claim to approach even the meanest of the Higher Animals (Twain).” Twain concludes that mankind is essentially doomed. Mankind is selfish and almost impossible to reform. Just think about it, if mankind’s religious leaders -- that are supposed to teach people how to be kind, selfless, and how to live a moral life -- cannot set aside their differences and get along with one another like the simplest of animals do then the human race should be doomed. Unlike the animals, the men were not able to show kindness to one another because their heightened sense of morality “blessed” them with reason and with this reason, the men in the cage found reasons to create divisions between each other in contrast to the animals whose ignorance of morality enabled them to love each other despite their

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