Praise of Folly

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In Erasmus’s The Praise of Folly the speaker is the embodiment of all thoughtlessness, recklessness behavior, the speaker is Folly herself. The book is categorized as an encomium and the object praised is, herself for “what could be more fitting then that Folly herself should ‘pat herself on the back’ and ‘blow her own horn’” (10). Folly’s encomium crafts paradoxical beliefs, prudence being one of those paradoxes. Folly places prudence into two categories, true and perverse. True prudence is given the attributes of a chameleon, while core values are labeled perverse. Folly’s definitions of prudence are paradoxical in respect to her later discourse on Christian doctrine. My goal is to describe how Folly’s definition of ideal prudence is rendered meaningless by her Christian stand and the overarching paradoxical nature of Folly’s wisdom. Folly asks the question who is wiser, a man who studies and never retreats from his books due to a modest and timid spirit? Or a fool who has neither fears nor modestly and there forth tries everything (42). Folly doesn’t consider the possibility that a man may be wise and display his wisdom without timidity. She doesn’t acknowledge wisdom and knowledge through actions and word. Folly claims two complications that generate a chasm between humans and true wisdom. “For there are two main obstacles to gaining knowledge of affairs: modesty, which throws the mind into confusion; and fear, which keeps people from undertaking noble exploits once the danger becomes apparent. But folly removes these hindrances in a fine fashion”(42) Naturally given the nature of Folly the answer is herself. But Folly as an answer to attaining wisdom is paradoxical. To overcome the parameters of gaining knowledge she embraces the very opposite. It doesn’t attempt to solve the problem of knowledge, it just distracts from it. Folly quotes Plato in support
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