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Essay on Satire in Voltaire's Candide

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Use of Satire in Voltaire’s Candide        


   Voltaire successfully uses satire as a means of conveying his opinions about life.  In his novel, Candide, Voltaire satirizes the philosopher Liebnitz's philosophy that this is the best of all possible worlds.  In the novel, the perpetually optimistic and naive character, Candide, travels around the world, having various experiences that prove, at least to the reader, that evil does exist. 

 

In one particular passage, Voltaire uses explicit diction, exaggerated details and manipulated syntax in order to contrast the optimist's romantic view of battle with the horrible reality that is war. Voltaire's grossly exaggerated details give a somewhat comical description of an otherwise horrible event.  "The cannons battered down about...


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...between the ridiculous ideas of the optimist and the truth that only the realist could see.  His choice of syntax leaves the reader with unforgettable images of war that will have a lasting effect.  Through his clever satire, Voltaire urges the reader to be more practical rather than happily ignorant

 

Work Cited:

Voltaire.  Candide.  Trans. Bair, Lowell.  New York: Bantam Books, 1988.


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