Gargantua and Pantagruel is a 5-volume novel by the French writer Francois Rabelais, which tells the story of the life of 2 funny and kind gluttonous giants, father and son. The work is filled with satire aimed at the vices of society, church and state contemporary to the author.
The main object for the sharp satire of Rabelais in this work is the church, monasticism and clergy. The creator of "Gargantua and Pantagruel" was a monk in his youth, but life in a monastic cell did not suit him, and thanks to the help of his mentor Geoffroy d'Etissac he managed to leave the monastery without any consequences.
A characteristic feature of the novel is the abundance of extremely detailed and at the same time comical transfers of meals, books, sciences, laws, sums of money, animals, funny names of warriors and the like.
In his novel, Rabelais ridicules the inherent vices of many people and modern satirists of the state and the church. The various claims of the church, the laziness and ignorance of the monks get the most. The author quite vividly and colorfully shows the sins and vices of the churchmen, which were condemned by the public during the Reformation - excessive greed, righteous hypocrisy, covering up the corruption of church ministers and the political ambitions of the higher clergy.
Certain Bible passages have also received ridicule. For example, the moment of the resurrection of Epistemon by Panurge parodies the well-known biblical legend about the resurrection of Lazarus by Jesus Christ, and the story of the giant Khurtali ridicules the story of Noah's ark. Blind faith in a divine miracle and spiritual fanaticism are reflected in the episode of the birth of Gargantua from the mother's ear, all who do not believe in the possibility of a child emerging from the ear, by the will of the almighty Lord God, Rabelais calls heretics. Thanks to these and other blasphemous episodes, all 5 volumes of Gargantua and Pantagruel were declared heretical by the theological faculty of the Sorbonne.
The humanism of the novel
In his work, Rabelais not only tries to fight the “old world” with the help of humor and sharp satire, but also describes the new world as he sees it. The ideals of a person's free self-sufficiency are contrasted in the novel with the powerlessness of the Middle Ages. The author describes a new, free world in chapters about Thelem Abbey, in which the harmony of freedom reigns, and there are no prejudices and coercion. The motto and the only principle of the charter of Thelem Abbey is: "Do what you want." In the part of the novel devoted to the abbey and upbringing of Gargantua by Ponocrates, the writer finally formed and embodied on paper the basic principles of humanism.
Gargantua and Pantagruel is inextricably linked with the folk culture of France in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Rabelais borrowed from it both his main characters and some literary forms.
The novel "Gargantua and Pantagruel", written on the breakdown of cultural paradigms of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, is undoubtedly a literary monument of the Renaissance.