One of the most important concepts discussed by Montaigne is that of imagination. One of the most prominent philosophers of the Renaissance, Michel de Montaigne was as dramatic as the next great thinker of the time. While Shakespeare was writing his plays, which reached thousands, first at the Globe, and then worldwide, Montaigne was establishing The Essay. However, the vital part of such genre remained the Imagination, allowing for a careful examination of topics that essayer, the attempt, required.
Through his essays, Montaigne explored and led the way for millions after him to explore the meaning of being human, cultural norms, and psychology of those around him. In order to discover new concepts and confirm ideas he and others had, imagination was and is required. He uses various examples in his essays to prove the power of such concepts as imagination, encouraging the reader to reconsider their relationship with reality and imagination. Montaigne refers to imagination as something he wishes he could be around forever – surrounded by gay and healthy people. He speaks of religious imagination, such as in the case of King Dagobert and Saint Francis, as those responsible for seemingly superhuman abilities.
However, Montaigne also mentions the downsides of imagination, including fevers and even death. He speaks of the overpowering nature of imagination in the case that the human mind is riddled with immoderately intense desire. Montaigne talks about the miraculous nature of imagination which, when not contained properly, can be damaging. Furthermore, he mentions other examples of situations in which imagination might be hindering or troublesome to the individual, such as in the case of the young man getting married. Moreover, he speaks of the story of the Egyptian king Amasis, who was saved from the negative qualities of imagination by religion.