Voltaire who was a French writer, philosopher and one of the leaders of the Enlightenment is known as one of the greatest satirist ever. Voltaire wrote about important genres: tragedy, history, philosophy and fiction just as his English contemporary Samuel Johnson. American heritage dictionary defines satire as, "An artistic work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit. Irony or caustic wit used to expose or attack human folly." The satirist adopts a critical attitude and usually presents his material with wit and humor. Voltaire uses many literary writing tools to share his views. Voltaire reasons for using satire is because he believes it is entertaining which many at time also agreed with him. During this time, many great authors wrote about things that they believed to be interesting for others to read. Voltaire was a big believer in writing about things that really happen to others. Some of the tools he uses are irony, symbolism and satire. The point I will be talking about is satire. Voltaire choices satire because this way he can make a joke out of serious matters such as death, rape, and murder. Through his satire, Voltaire sometimes expressed outrage, and other times he was playful. This is the literary term he uses the most of the time. Voltaire targets of satire are many and varied. Three topics Voltaire uses satire for are philosophical optimism, religion and greed. I will be focusing my paper on these three ideas. Voltaire was a serious man but felt it was important to entertain others by using humor as long as he thought it was funny.
Voltaire's main purpose in writing Candide was to demolish the theory of Optimism, and that is why is us...
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...ith the problems of everyday life. Satire is an important tool for many great writers past and present.
Appelgate, Kenneth. Voltaire on Religion: Selected writings. New
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"Greed." American Heritage Dictionary 3rd Edition. 1994
Jones, Eric. The Best of all Possible Worlds. 23 April 2001.
Pomeau, Rene. Voltaire's Religion. Voltaire: A collection of Critical
Essays. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1968.
"Satire." American Heritage Dictionary 3rd Edition. 1994
Voltaire, Francois-Marie Arouet De. Candide or Optimism. Great
Britain: Penguin Books, 1947.
Voltaire, Francois-Marie Arouet De. "Candide or Optimism." The Norton
Anthology World Masterpieces. Ed. Lawall, Sarah. New York, London: WW Norton & Company, 1999.
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