Use of Satire in Voltaire's Candide Essay

Use of Satire in Voltaire's Candide Essay

Length: 1563 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Successful Use of Satire in Voltaire's Candide


Voltaire's Candide is the story of how one man's adventures affect his philosophy on life. Candide begins his journey full of optimism that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds," but he learns that it is naïve to say that good will eventually come of any evil. 

Voltaire successfully uses satire as a means of conveying his opinions about many aspects of European society in the eighteenth century.  He criticizes religion, the evils found in every level of society, and a philosophy of optimism when faced with an intolerable world. 

Candide portrays religious persecution as one of the most worst aspects of society.  Voltaire rejects the superstitious beliefs that the church endorsed.  After the great earthquake in Lisbon, the church seems to think that persecuting a few innocent civilians in an auto-da-fè will prevent another disaster.  The church should be the most civilized aspect of a society, but Candide is flogged in time to a musical procession, Pangloss is hanged, and two others are burned.  Voltaire illustrates the irony of the church as a source of violence with the warring churchmen that Candide finds in the Jesuit state in the New World. 

The Spanish priests in the New World operate a government where "the Fathers have everything, the people nothing;...they wage war against the King of Spain and the King of Portugal...they kill Spaniards" (Voltaire 53).  Ironically, the priests in Paraguay also hold offices in the army.  The Baron, for example, holds the title of Reverend Father Colonel.  Voltaire stresses the irony of a official of the church that preaches "Thou shalt not kill" to be an army officer who's job is to murder.  The cruelty of Christiani...


... middle of paper ...


...ught good out of evil, but because he has made his own happiness.  "'Well said,' replied Candide, 'but we must cultivate our garden'"  (Voltaire 120).        

Works Cited and Consulted:

Bottiglia, William. "Candide's Garden." Voltaire: A Collection of Critical Essays. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Durant, Will, Ariel Durant. The Story of Civilization: Part IX: The Age of Voltaire. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965.

Frautschi, R.L. Barron's Simplified Approach to Voltaire: Candide. New York: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1968.

Lowers, James K, ed. "Cliff Notes on Voltaire's Candide". Lincoln: Cliff Notes, Inc. 1965.

Richter, Peyton. Voltaire. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1980.

Voltaire's Candide and the Critics. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc., 1966.

Voltaire. Candide. New York: Viking Publishers, 1976.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Use of Satire to Attack Optimism in Voltaire's Candide

- Use of Satire to Attack Optimism in Voltaire's Candide     In its time, satire was a powerful tool for political assault on Europe's corrupt and deteriorating society. Voltaire's Candide uses satire to vibrantly and sarcastically portray optimism, a philosophical view from the Enlightenment used to bury the horrors of 18th century life: superstition, sexually transmitted diseases, aristocracy, the church, tyrannical rulers, civil and religious wars, and the cruel punishment of the innocent....   [tags: Candide essays]

Powerful Essays
1369 words (3.9 pages)

Use of Satire to Target Religion, Military, and Optimism in Voltaire's Candide

- Use of Satire to Target Religion, Military, and Optimism in Voltaire's Candide   In his work, Candide, Voltaire uses satire as a means of conveying his opinions about many aspects of European society in the eighteenth century.  Voltaire successfully criticizes religion, the military, and the philosophy of optimism.  Religious leaders are the targets of satire throughout Candide. Voltaire portrays the religious clergy as men who use their positions to further their own causes. In addition, the priests keep the less fortunate oppressed, so the clergy members can continue to enjoy extravagant luxuries....   [tags: Candide Voltaire essays]

Powerful Essays
603 words (1.7 pages)

The Use of Satire in Voltaire’s Candide by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Essay

- ... The article states: “Leibniz isn't concerned with the world he observes but with the world his mathematical formula can prove”. Leibniz ignored the problems and flaws in society that were so clearly in front of him because his logic rendered them impossible. This is where the conflict first began to arise between Leibniz and Voltaire. Voltaire believes, as communicated in Candide, that what humans are able to observe directly does not match up with the mathematical formula Leibniz backs so strongly....   [tags: philosophical optimism, god]

Powerful Essays
760 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Satire in Voltaire's Candide

- 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....   [tags: Candide essays]

Powerful Essays
627 words (1.8 pages)

The Effective Satire of Voltaire's Candide Essay

- The Effective Satire of Voltaire's Candide      In Candide, Voltaire sought to point out the fallacy of Gottfried Leibniz's theory of optimism and the hardships brought on by the resulting inaction toward the evils of the world. Voltaire's use of satire, and its techniques of exaggeration and contrast highlight the evil and brutality of war and the world in general when men are meekly accepting of their fate. Leibniz, a German philosopher and mathematician of Voltaire's time, developed the idea that the world they were living in at that time was "the best of all possible worlds." This systematic optimism shown by Leibniz is the philosophical system that believed everything already was for...   [tags: Voltaire Candide Essays]

Free Essays
1191 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Irony, Satire, Symbols, and Symbolism in Voltaire's Candide

- Use of Irony, Satire, and Symbolism in Candide In the novel, Candide, Voltaire uses many literary writing tools to prove the points in which he believes. Some of these many literary tools are irony, satire, and symbolism. Through these tools, Voltaire proves that greed is a universal vice, and usually ends in ones own destruction. Voltaire strongly emphasizes his pessimistic view throughout the story. During Chapter 10, he uses his philosophies, as well as other literary tools, to present greed as a devastating factor of society's corruption....   [tags: Candide essays]

Free Essays
447 words (1.3 pages)

Voltaire And The Age Of Enlightenment Essay

- 1. Voltaire, more formally known as Francois-Marie Arouet, was a writer, philosopher and historian in the Age of Enlightenment. The Age of Enlightenment was the period of time from the late seventeenth century through early nineteenth century in which European thinkers and philosophers began to question and contradict typical styles of thinking. The belief behind this new Enlightenment thinking was that the human race could better themselves through simply creating reasonable change. (citations: http://www.history.com/topics/enlightenment http://www.biography.com/people/voltaire-9520178.) 2. Voltaire uses satire in order to attempt to bring about change by mocking the thinking of many Enlig...   [tags: Candide, Voltaire, Best of all possible worlds]

Powerful Essays
1383 words (4 pages)

Candide: A Satire On The Enlightenment Essay

- Candide: A Satire On The Enlightenment Works Cited Missing Candide is an outlandishly humorous, far-fetched tale by Voltaire satirizing the optimism espoused by the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment. It is the story of a young man’s adventures throughout the world, where he witnesses much evil and disaster. Throughout his travels, he adheres to the teachings of his tutor, Pangloss, believing that "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds." Candide is Voltaire’s answer to what he saw as an absurd belief proposed by the Optimists - an easy way to rationalize evil and suffering....   [tags: Voltaire Candide Essays]

Free Essays
596 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on Voltaire's Candide

- Voltaire's Candide Voltaire’s masterpiece has been read delightfully and with much interest by many people since its scarcely secret publication in Geneva and Paris (1759). When it was first published, there were about twenty copies, most of which were pirated. When Voltaire died (1778) there were already more than fifty, and later on it became the best seller of the eighteenth century. It is true that the local conditions have changed since Candide was written. English admirals are not shot any more as a lesson in military perseverance....   [tags: Voltaire Candide Literature History Essays]

Powerful Essays
3530 words (10.1 pages)

Essay on Voltaire’s Candide: Use of Language

- Use of Language in Candide       A great philosopher Liebnitz once said that this is the best possible of all worlds. Voltaire disagrees. In Voltaire's Candide, the impartial narrator travels to distant lands and experiences a range of extremes. After having spent a great deal of time away from his homeland, and having seen more than most people see in a lifetime, the narrator is forced to conclude that this may not be the best possible world because of the reality of evil. Voltaire relates this point very effectively through his mastery of language and the choices he makes, both gramatically and content-related....   [tags: Candide essays]

Powerful Essays
663 words (1.9 pages)