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Menocchio History Paper

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Essay title: Menocchio History Paper

In Carlo Ginzburg's "The Cheese and the Worms," a common person by the name of Menocchio went against social and cultural norms to present a reformation during the Sixteenth Century. Studying common people's lives help to understand how everyday life was like for most people in Italy during this time. Only they knew how it felt to be ruled and told what to do because of their low social status. People like Menocchio are worthwhile to study because the common people are the ones who make rulers and generals look good or bad. If common people such as Menocchio didn't challenge society and no one else will, especially not for the lowest class of society.

Common people of early modern Italy was shown one was of life. They always had to follow the rich because they are the ones who held power. This resulted in their low social status and poor living conditions and surroundings. Their education was very rundown and that resulted in illiteracy. Their success stories are more interesting because of what they came out of. Heroes come from common people or low income families, because they have seen the worst of the worst. They have been through it all and understand the heart and effort that goes into making something out or nothing.

Menocchio is a prime example of using his intellectual ability to become something when he had close to nothing. He was different from others in his social class because he was in fact literate. He loved to read and understood books with more in depth knowledge than others. He used these books to his advantage to fulfill his ideas and beliefs and no one else's. He didn't follow the norms of society. Ginzburg describes this by saying, "it was not the book as such, but the encounter between the printed page and oral culture that formed an explosion mixture in Menocchio's head (Ginzburg P.51)."

Menocchio is well known for his attacks against the Christian religion and more importantly the Catholic Church. He goes after Jesus and says how Jesus was just a normal man with no miraculous and spiritual powers. During this time period, it was very dangerous to use blasphemy against the Catholic Church which had the power. Menocchio stood for not being born into religion like he was, but rather learn other religions to then decide your own. Hard to necessarily agree with, but definitely presents a statement that is well backed up with good reasons. Ginzburg

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