Gargantua and Pantagruel Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What does the Introduction of Pantagruel reveal about the style and time period of the piece?

According to the Introduction, the first edition of this book is dated either 1531 or 1532. "The Dixain" by Maitre Hughes Salel praises Rabelais' writing, and in the Prologue, Rabelais compares his own novel to the medieval romances, or at least a parody of them, and contains many allusions to examples of such writings.

2. Describe Pantagruel's birth. Why did his father give him the name Pantagruel?

Gargantua and Badebec give birth to Pantagruel, but Badebec dies in childbirth because her child is so large that he suffocates her. Gargantua names his son Pantagruel, meaning "all thirst", as terrible drought plagues Africa, and the midwife who delivers him prophesies that he will do wondrous works.

3. Where is Pantagruel sent in Pantagruel: Chapter Five? What are his impressions of study?

Pantagruel is sent to study at Poitiers where he sets a large boulder on four pillars in the middle of the field where students may pass their time, called Pierre levee. At Montpellier, he finds the study of medicine to be too tedious, and deciding to read Law. He stays at Angers until the plague drives him away.

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