Michel de Montaigne was a famous Renaissance French writer who coined the term “essay” (French for “to try”) in regard to his short writings on various moral and philosophical topics. Like Jean de Coras and Guillaume Le Sueur, Montaigne also witnessed the trial of Martin Guerre at Toulouse. He later wrote about the case in his essay “Of the Lame,” in which he argued that people should not be condemned to death when there is a lack of decisive evidence. For example, witches should not be burned because it is impossible to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that someone is a witch. To prove his point, he cited the trial of Martin Guerre, a case in which it was very difficult to prove that one of the men was the “true” Martin. Montaigne thought that the case “far-exceeded…our knowledge,” demonstrating his intellectual humility and skepticism.
Michel de Montaigne Quotes in The Return of Martin Guerre
The The Return of Martin Guerre quotes below are all either spoken by Michel de Montaigne or refer to Michel de Montaigne . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harvard University Press edition of The Return of Martin Guerre published in 1983.).
Chapter 12 Quotes
Montaigne insists how difficult it is to know the truth about things and how uncertain an instrument is human reason. “Truth and falsehood have both alike countenances…Wee beholde them with one same eye.”
Michel de Montaigne Character Timeline in The Return of Martin Guerre
The timeline below shows where the character Michel de Montaigne appears in The Return of Martin Guerre. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.