Religious satire in voltaires candide essay

When his father found out, he sent Voltaire to study law, this time in CaenNormandy.

Religious satire in voltaires candide essay

Religious Satire in Voltaire’s Candide

Satire may be defined as the particular literary way of making possible the improvement of humanity and its institutions.

The satirist adopts a critical attitude and usually presents his material with wit and humor. Aware of grave limitations in the institutions which humanity has erected, he may seek through laughter to effect a remodeling rather than the demolishing of them.

Voltaire is to be identified as such a satirist, and he sought a most thorough-going remodeling of human behavior and institutions. Basically satire is of two kinds: To put it another way, one may say that Horatian satire sports with folly, and that Juvenalian satire attacks crimes or at least offenses deemed to be anti-social.

Obviously the latter type, if it invites laughter at all, invites scornful laughter. Both types of satire are found in Candide. Usually the writer sets down words of praise to imply blame, and words of blame to imply praise, the former practice being more common.

As a literary device, irony is effective because it calls for restraint. The satirist who depends upon it never descends to railing or to sarcasm; he expects his audience to get the point.

One can understand why Thierot lauded Voltaire as the "most excellent author of quips and jests" and that both Baron Grimm and Mme. First in importance, to be sure, is philosophical optimism; others include religion, kings and the State, war, avarice, social pride, and folly of one kind or another.

In the moral order, dishonesty, sham, prostitution, and all the grave and petty inhumanities of man against man are assailed, just as in the natural order disease, cataclysms, and malformations are.

For his purpose Voltaire depended especially upon exaggeration, but he also used the contrasting device of understatement, often in the form of litotes, which is understatement whereby something is affirmed by stating the negative of its opposite — a common device in ironic expression.

Related to it is euphemism, a figure of speech in which an indirect statement is substituted for a direct one. Euphemistic terms have been used by many writers to avoid bluntness or offense, but they reveal a tendency to be insincere and sentimental.

Voltaire used them ironically with fine comic effect to advance his satire of injustice, crime, and folly. Caricature and parody, ways in which the author exaggerated details of one sort or another for the same purpose, also must be noticed.

He opposed gross absurdity with absurdity — the doctrine repeatedly voiced by Pangloss and echoed by his disciples versus the conclusions to be drawn from the fantastic experiences which are recorded.

The superlative is dominant from the very beginning.

Religious satire in voltaires candide essay

Life at the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh is utopian, a life of perfect happiness. It is a "most beautiful castle. Pangloss is presented as an oracle, the wisest philosopher in the realm.

Already the absurd is opposed to the absurd. We learn that this most beautiful and agreeable of all possible castles, as Voltaire calls it in the last sentence in the chapter, is crude enough, what with its one door and window and its one tapestry.

The baroness is obese; the baron obviously a primitive character. But all this exaggeration, all the superlatives prepare the reader for the dire events which are to follow. The author used a variety of forms to oppose Optimism.

The formula "best of all possible worlds" appears again and again only to be refuted with satiric and ironic sting. One of these forms involves a type of understatement.

Candide is master of it — inadvertently so. Often, after experiencing terrible danger and suffering, his immediate reaction is that Doctor Pangloss might possibly — just possibly — begin to doubt his own philosophy. Candide remarked that he should have left them enough to finish their journey.

Religious Satire in Voltaire's Candide | Essay Example

The youth was puzzled because he never held any aces, but, wrote Voltaire, Martin was not surprised. It is often through just such laconic statements that the author achieves witty understatement.

Voltaire had a natural tendency toward euphemism, and examples of this rhetorical device are plentiful in Candide. The account of the Inquisition, for example, provided him with wonderful opportunities for satirical, euphemistic comment.

A week later they were both dressed in sanbenitos and paper mitres. Thus attired, they walked in a procession and heard a deeply moving sermon, followed by beautiful polyphonic music.

Candide was flogged in time to the singing, the Biscayan and the two men who had refused to eat pork were burned, and Pangloss was hanged, although this was not customary.Religious Satire in Voltaire's Candide Essay by WhitePhantom, Junior High, 9th grade, A+, March download word file, 4 pages download word file, 4 pages 5 votes/5(5).

Religious intolerance was a subject he dealt with in many of his works, especially Candide. The religious characters in this work were mostly negative with the exception of Brethren predecessor, the Anabaptist, and the old woman.

Satire In Candide by Voltaire | Study Guides and Book Summaries

Intelligent Satire in Voltaire's Candide Essay - Intelligent Satire in Candide In the story Candide, Voltaire. Essay about Criticism of Religion in Voltaire’s Candide.

Words 3 Pages. Criticism of Religion in Voltaire’s Candide In his novel Candide, Voltaire often criticized religious beliefs of the times. His criticism of religion surfaces throughout the entire story.

Intelligent . Religious Satire in Voltaire’s Candide.


During Voltaire’s lifetime, traditional social institutions and government systems held power. Arguably the most influential of those was the Catholic Church, which was considered sacred and above the state in authority and importance.


Religious satire in voltaires candide essay

François-Marie Arouet was born in Paris, the youngest of the five children of François Arouet (19 August – 1 January ), a lawyer who was a minor treasury official, and his wife, Marie Marguerite Daumard (c. – 13 July ), whose family was on the lowest rank of the French nobility. Some speculation surrounds Voltaire's date of birth, because he claimed he was.

But, Candide is a satire on organized religion. It’s not that Voltaire did not believe in God, it’s that he disapproved of organized religion. It’s not that Voltaire did not believe in God, it’s that he disapproved of organized religion.

Voltaire - Wikipedia