In Praise of Folly
by Desiderius Erasmus
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Erasmus displays cunning wit in his satire
In Praise of Folly. Erasmus' characterization of Folly is
cleverly constructed, and the irony in his essay is thick. Folly (the
essay's central character) praises herself endlessly, arguing that life
would be dull and distasteful without her. Of earthly existence, Folly
pompously states, "you'll find nothing frolic or fortunate that it owes
not to me." Folly venerates her comrades, Self Love, Flattery, Oblivion,
and Pleasure, whom she believes promote friendship and tolerance within
society. Above all, Folly lauds self-deception and foolishness, finding
Biblical support in favor of her beliefs. In conclusion, Folly speaks
directly of Christianity, regarding its religious authority and
practices. Erasmus adopts a pure Latin style commonly shared by many
Renaissance humanist writers. In addition to its rhetorical brilliance,
In Praise of Folly makes a fierce statement about 16th century
CCEL Staff Writer
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