CHARLES DARWIN: L'ORIGINE DELL'UOMO E LA SELEZIONE SESSUALE
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex – Man’s Origin
The present extract is taken from The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin; it deals with the naturalist’s thesis on man’s origin, pointing out his theory of evolution as a result of accidental mutations on the species.
The text might be divided into three main sequences:
- the first one, in which the theorist expounds his “main conclusion”, that is “man is descended from some lowly-organised form”;
- the second one, a digression about Fuegians’ lifestyle, a wild population which inspired some of Darwin’s reflections which successively would have made him able to expound his theory of evolutionism;
- last but not least, the third one, where the author gives voice to some considerations built on the contrast between the noble anthropoid and his “god-like intellect” and his descendant ancestors, humble living creatures.
In fact Darwin’s awareness for his theory’s consequences on many persons is disarming: he knows his thesis will be uncomfortable to anthropocentric philosophies who stated man was the perfect organism at the center of the universe and could descend from animals.
Moreover his awareness about his theory’s veracity is also connoted by verbs like “regret” and “excused”, as he had been apologizing for his words to turn upside down the belief of the “self-made man”. Indeed he often incites his contemporaries to acknowledge the fact that “the blood of some more humble creature flows in their veins”.
L'ORIGINE DELL'UOMO DI CHARLES DARWIN
The argumentations Darwin pointed at to support his thesis were merely scientific. The language he uses reflects his theory, according to the objective description of Fuegians’ life, conveyed thanks to paratactic periods characterized by the anaphoric repetition of the adjective “theirs” and a past tense verb ending in -ed to enclose the single sentences, as he wanted to connote an essential, humble, pragmatic lifestyle.
For the whole text long the poet alternates scientific argumentations with common beliefs in contrast with them: this is functional to confer his thesis more reliability in spite with wrong certainties which exalted qualities of a man which “still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin”.