Writer Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) was a contemporary of Shakespeare. Scholars are not certain, but his published essays were probably read by the playwright. Even if Shakespeare didn’t read Montaigne, both men probably knew of similar works in Latin that they used in their writing. Montaigne’s essay “Of Cannibals” is a probable source for some of Shakespeare’s ideas for The Tempest.
Read and annotate the excerpts from Montaigne’s essay “Of Cannibals.”
- Note any vocabulary you are not familiar with.
- At the end of each paragraph, briefly summarize what Montaigne is saying.
- Look for evidence that Shakespeare read this essay and used some of the ideas.
You Have a Choice
You can read and think about the text independently, read and discuss the text in a small group, or request a conference with your teacher.