What is the Theory of Humanity?


Humanity is viewed as simultaneously sociable and unsociable in nature. Indeed, this is because the underlying concepts that characterize humankind have two different connotations: friendliness and unfriendliness. Hence, in the process of constructing the philosophy of humanity, the two sides must be considered equally (Giroux and Nealon 40). The contradiction between the aspect of humanity as being sociable and unsociable simultaneously is inherent in the sense that. In contrast, the aspect of treating people humanely is friendly, it also has a biased connotation owing to the fact that it can be used negatively.

The best example of the dual nature of humanity as a concept is the character of Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which underscores the two faces of humanity that occur at the same time. Prospero was the rightful Duke of Milan, but Antonio wanted to kill him to grab the opportunity to be the Duke. On the other hand, Prospero and his daughter Miranda did not die but survived the ordeal and found refuge on the island. While on the island, they faced great suffering that made Prospero learn sorcery to survive and protect his daughter. At the end of the play, Prospero and Miranda return when  Prospero assumes his rightful place as the Duke (Howard 27). The story underscores the dual nature of humanity as positive and negative due to the lack of humane treatment that tossed Prospero into exile. Therefore, it is imperative to understand that the dichotomy of humanity may not be seen as real since humanity is a sociable concept.

Humanity as Sociable and Unsociable

Humanity has two faces in the sense that it is simultaneously sociable and unsociable. Therefore, it implies that the concept and practice of humanity have two imperative features that often occur simultaneously. It also underscores the dual nature of humanity as a concept. Sociable humanity as a perception accentuates the willingness to engage in activities with others. On the other hand, unsociable humanity is the lack of willingness to engage in social activities or involve other members of society. Humanity includes all the two parameters that occur at the same time. The situation implies that humanity takes place in a sociable and unsociable environment. In addition, humanity has two different outcomes: friendliness and unfriendliness.

Humanity, as described in Montaigne’s theory, is a concept that highlights benevolence and malevolence (Giroux & Nealon 27). Indeed, this is because all its two-aspect states are part of human nature. In other words, this concept and theory of humanity signify the inherent nature of human beings. It implies that whatever is common to the human race is considered humanity. As a result, humanity is sociable and unsociable, where the sociable parameter features benevolence, and the unsociable aspect signifies malevolence. These two states occur simultaneously because people who engage in acts of kindness and servitude often face opposition from those who engage in harmful activities.

In addition, it is possible to experience both the sociable and the unsociable features in the same person and at the same time. A perfect example is an individual who hates some people and loves others. Another instance is a person who helps some people but oppresses others simultaneously. All these two characteristics occur in the same person simultaneously. In addition, the aspect also emphasizes that people can simultaneously be good and bad. Therefore, since humanity as a concept underscores the aspect of human behavior or predisposition, it may be possible that humanity is simultaneously sociable and unsociable, as both facets are human features. If humanity stands for the behaviors of human beings, then this argument is accurate and credible.


On the contrary, the argument that humanity is simultaneously sociable and unsociable lacks merit in the sense that humanity is sociable and unsociable, which can be accounted for according to the nature of the concept (Giroux and Nealon 52). In other words, humanity underlines the aspect of treating people well or in a human way. It differs from justice in the sense that whereas justice is generally applied, humanity stems from inherent personality traits and characteristics (Giroux and Nealon, 22). Therefore, humanity underscores the aspect of human relationships in a social order, which is a fact that makes humanity sociable and unsociable.

Taking the example of Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the bad blood between him and his brother Antonio was a social problem that led to his exile following Antonio’s intention to kill him (Howard 86). Basing our argument according to their case scenario, Antonio lacked humanity and endeavored to murder his brother for the sake of the position of the Duke. Hence, this example accentuates that humanity is, indeed, sociable owing to the reason that it occurs in good faith at a personal level. The absence of humanity on the part of Antonio in the story was the main reason Prospero and Miranda almost died. If there was humanity concerning Antonio, then there could be no instance of attempted murder. Giroux and Nealon argue that the absence of humanity is what leads to the unsociable concept of humanity (44). Therefore, Antonio’s ill motive regarding killing his brother to assume the position of the Duke was a sheer example of how humanity is sociable.

            It is inconceivable to state that humanity is sociable and unsociable simultaneously, as such a phenomenon is impractical (Giroux and Nealon 52). Indeed, there is no way a concept can be sociable and unsociable as the two aspects present two opposite situations. The truth of the matter is that regarding humanity, there are two possible outcomes that are sociable and unsociable. When humanity prevails, it creates and operates within a sociable atmosphere. Important to note is that good treatment that befits the stature of a human being cannot occur in an unsociable environment. Hence, humanity is, indeed, sociable in both concept and practice. It is articulated as a social construct and operated within a social context (Howard 45). However, when humanity does not prevail or when it is not present, there is an unsociable outcome.

In essence, an unsociable context or environment creates and sustains the disdain of humanity. The Tempest exemplifies the unsociable context in which there is no humanity (Howard 18). The persecution and suffering of Prospero were a direct outcome of the lack of humanity. Quintessentially, a decade before the onset of the play, as resented by The Tempest, Prospero and Miranda were doomed to die by Antonio. The main reason for this act was the quest for the position of the Duke. In fact, being the rightful Duke, Prospero continued existence was a major headache for Antonio, who wanted the position (Howard 13). Therefore, Antonio endeavors to eliminate Prospero to get a chance to be the Duke. Hence, this was a major sign of Antonio’s unsociable nature and the play’s entire atmosphere. As such, heinous acts against people can only prevail in unsociable contexts.

Although human beings are naturally endowed with both sociable and unsociable traits, it is not possible for these two features to manifest simultaneously since they are opposite of each other (Giroux and Nealon 51). As a result, the only possibility is that there are people who are sociable and those who are unsociable. The two features cannot belong to a single individual. Therefore, if human beings are to be endowed with these two features, then they cannot influence the concept of humanity at the same time (Giroux and Nealon 75). In The Tempest, Antonio is presented as unsociable, coinciding with his decision to eliminate his brother to become the Duke. In fact, if Antonio was to be both sociable and unsociable, then he could have done some good things after trying to eliminate Prospero, but this was not the case.  

Despite the fact that humans can be sociable and unsociable, the two phases of an individual cannot occur simultaneously since, at one moment, the acts of human beings cannot be positive or negative. There are people who are sociable, and there are those who are unsociable (Giroux and Nealon 43). Hence, there is also a possibility that one person can be sociable and unsociable but not at the same time. Therefore, the argument that humanity is sociable and unsociable simultaneously is not true, rather, it is an exaggeration of facts. The acts of humanity may be social on one occasion and unsociable on another occasion. Thus, humanity cannot be sociable and unsociable (Giroux and Nealon 78). The best way to articulate that aspect of humanity regarding being sociable and unsociable is to state that humanity may occur or prevail in a sociable or unsociable environment and outcomes but not at the same time. Such an argument is not only factual, but it is also realistic in the sense that being sociable and unsociable is human characteristics, but occurring simultaneously is an exaggeration of facts.


The concept of humanity, as developed by Montaigne, views humanity as simultaneously sociable and unsociable as the fundamental concepts that exemplify humanity has two different connotations: friendly and unfriendly. Therefore, in any given instance, humanity is sociable and unsociable. The Tempest offers a favorable example of the dual nature of humanity simultaneously as it underscores the sufferings of Prospero and Miranda at the hands of Antonio. It emerges from this play that Prospero is sociable, and Antonio is unsociable in similar instances. On the contrary, humanity cannot be sociable and unsociable simultaneously since the two experiences are opposite. Consequently, it is not possible for human beings to be sociable and unsociable at the same time. The much that is possible is that humanity can be sociable at times and unsociable at other times. In essence, The Tempest exemplifies the fact that humanity cannot be sociable and unsociable at the same time. Whereas Antonio was unsociable, Prosperous was very sociable, and there were no instances of the two experiences occurring simultaneously.


Works Cited

Giroux, Seals Susan, and Thomas Jeffrey Nealon. The Theory Toolbox: Critical Concepts for the

Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012.

Howard, Tony. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film. Cambridge University

 Press, 2000. 

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