Voltaire's Candide

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Voltaire's Candide Voltaire uses many writing techniques, which are similar to that of the works of Cervantes, Alighieri, Rabelais and Moliere. The use of the various styles shows that, despite the passing of centuries and the language change, certain writing techniques will always be effective. One common literary technique is the author's use of one or more of his characters as his own voice to speak out the authors own views on certain subjects. For instance, in Moliere's Tartuffe, the author uses the character of Cleante to speak out against religious hypocrites: "Nothing that I more cherish and admire than honest zeal and true religious fire. So there is nothing that I find more base than specious piety's dishonest face." In Candide, Voltaire makes use of several characters to voice his opinion mocking philosophical optimism. In the story Candide is asking a gentleman about whether everything is for the best in the physical world as well as the moral universe. The man replies: "I believe nothing of the sort. I find that everything goes wrong in our world, that nobody knows his place in society or his duty, what he's doing or what he ought to be doing, and that outside of mealtimes...the rest of the day is spent in useless quarrels... it's one unending warfare." By having this character take on such a pessimistic tone, he directly contradicts the obviously over optimistic actions of Candide. In the conclusion an old Turk instructs Candide in the futility of needless philosophizing by saying that "the work keeps us from three great evils, boredom, vice, and poverty." In all of the examples, the character chosen by the author comes across as a reasonable and respectable person, making the author's point of view seems reasonable and respectable at the same time. Another technique Voltaire uses in Candide is that of taking actual people and events and weaving into his work of fiction. He often does this to mock his political and literary opponents, as shown in the conversation between the Abbe' and the Parisian supper guests. The Abbe' mentions two critics who in Voltaire's time have criticized his work. The critics are referred to as boring and impudent by the supper guests. In much the same manner Alighieri, in The Divine Comedy, has placed many of his enemies in various circles of Hell. One example is when, Dante himself pushes one of his political enemies back down into the swampy waters of the river Styx.

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