Rhetorical Devices In Michel De Montaigne's 'On Friendship'

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Michel de Montaigne is known as one of the most influential philosophers of all time due to his popularization of the essay as a literary genre throughout the French Renaissance. He accomplished this through his major work, Essais (translating as “attempts” or “trials”), published in the March of 1850. All of the entries within Essais attempted to advocate for many different ideas by understanding them without judgement or generalizations. Each of Montaigne’s entries within Essais is composed of several different rhetorical devices in order to convey particular ideas and messages to the audience. Specifically, in “On Friendship,” Montaigne uses allusion, diction, personal anecdotes, personification, and rhetorical questions. Montaigne’s uses…show more content…
Montaigne references several different authors throughout the duration of “On Friendship,” as noted previously. Instead of translating when quoting these authors, Montaigne decides to keep the text in Greek or Latin each time. This is a bold move to take as an author because one cannot know whether or not his audience will be able to understand the language or not. While one can say the audience will be able to translate the text, they may not have access to those types of material. By not translating the material into the dominant language of the region, Montaigne shows the audience that he undoubtedly knows the Greek or Latin language very well. At the time, knowing these languages and being able to converse well with them meant that one was an intellectual and had studied many things. Any person or audience will be more willing to trust in an author who is known to be well studied. By coupling the allusion and the elevated diction together, Montaigne undeniably presents himself as an intellectual and reliable author to the
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