What does Montaigne say about the sick body (literal or metaphorical) in his essay "Of the Resemblance of Children to Fathers"?

Montaigne says of the sick body in "Of the Resemblance of Children to Fathers" that people are better off resting and taking care of their illnesses without the help of doctors. He sees doctors as creating more problems than they solve. On a more metaphorical level, Montaigne implies that we are all responsible for our own well-being. He ends by stating that he is tolerant of those who rely on physicians.

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In this essay, Montaigne, as he does elsewhere, speaks out against doctors, saying they are not necessary to cure a sick body. He states,

Physicians are not content to deal only with the sick, but they will moreover corrupt health itself, for fear men should at any time escape...

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In this essay, Montaigne, as he does elsewhere, speaks out against doctors, saying they are not necessary to cure a sick body. He states,

Physicians are not content to deal only with the sick, but they will moreover corrupt health itself, for fear men should at any time escape their authority.

Speaking in literal terms, Montaigne argues that he has recovered from being sick easily on his own (though he says he complains a good deal when sick) without needing to take the medicines doctors prescribe. He also states that he maintains his good health on his own terms, without having to rely on a particular discipline or regiment. He notes, too, as in the case of kidney stones which his father and then he himself had, that sickness can be passed down through families.

Montaigne uses literature to continue in his attacks on doctors, quoting an Aesop story in which a doctor's "potion" renders a man sweaty, then cold, then swollen, all of which the doctor sees as good. The sick man ends by implying the cure he has been subjected to is worse than the illness and says humorously that "with being too well I am about to die."

Montaigne states that sick people should have only one doctor and will recover more rapidly if they have "repose" rather than constantly being hovered over.

To modern ears, Montaigne's unwavering dislike and distrust of doctors can seem odd or cranky, but he lived in a time when medicine was far more primitive than today, and many of the most respected cures then, such as bleeding a patient, are not recommended today. Montaigne understood through observation and clear thinking that medicine was a science based on guesswork. More metaphorically, he understood that people have to pay attention to their own bodies and minds and become active participants in their own health.

Montaigne, however, ends his essay by saying that while he is set in his views about doctors, he is very tolerant of people with other perspectives.

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