Problems with Education as Raised by Rabelais

Topics: Education, Renaissance, Teacher Pages: 3 (866 words) Published: March 15, 2011
The book Gargantua and Pantagruel was written by Francois Rabelais to show his disgust for the educational systems in his era. The two main characters of the book, Gargantua and Pantagruel, are two giant creatures living in the medieval era that perform various comical stunts. These stunts are an observation of the medieval way of life. Also, Rabelais is able to use these stunts to transcend some of his ideas of humanism to the reader. The specific problem defined by Rabelais is, rote memorization rather than analysis. Rabelais is able to use humor to translate his thoughts about the current education system. By reviewing the use of satire throughout the book and the underlying messages, it will be obvious that Rabelais feels that there is a lack of analysis in his times.

There are several accounts in the book where memorization is favored and is used over actual analyzation. This is mainly seen by the schoolmasters and the sophisters throughout the book. Memorization is not how Rabelais believed the intellectual individuals in society to act. He was a strong believe in the understanding of knowledge, which he felt was how a person should learn. For example, Gargantua is given “ a sophister-doctor, called Master Tubl Holoferns, who taught him his ABC so well that he could say it by heart backwards “( 1.XIV) This master was focused on memorization rather then analysis, he would force Gargantua to memorize text from the era's famous authors “ unto him the book de modis signficandim with commentaries of Hurtbise, of Fasquin, of Tropdieux, of Gualhaut, of John Calf, of Billonio, of Berlingunandus and a rabble of others “(1.XIV) .Gargantua never learns any of the material he is taught from his teacher, he is only able to memorize it, causing him to be unable to understand the world.

Another problem with the education stated by Rabelais was the lack of determination to gain more knowledge. Gargantua's father Grangousier sees that his son is not...
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