Voltaire and The Enlightenment Essay

Voltaire and The Enlightenment Essay

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The eighteenth century was a crucial changing point in the European history because
of The Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was revolutionary because of Voltaire, a writer that used his ideas to attack the established Catholic Church, and to propagate the freedom of religion, scientific thoughts, skepticism and experiential philosophy.
Voltaire was born in 1694, a year that was under the regiment of Louis XIV. At that time, the aristocracy ruled France in an extreme way that most commoners were struggling in poverty. From a middle-class family, Voltaire did not like the political environment of France and the aristocratic system. As a well-educated and intelligent student from the college of Louis-le-Grand, he became a secretary for the French Ambassador. Although his social status was satisfying to most people, Voltaire was more interested in elaborating his witty ideas by words, so he decided to become a writer instead of continuing working for the French Ambassador. His harsh and sarcastic writing style soon made him famous. However, the fame also brought him trouble: He was disliked by the noblemen in France and was caught into the jail. In the jail, he started to use the name “Voltaire” and produced his first play, Oedipe, in 1718. The play was a huge success and got him more attention. The French aristocracy cannot tolerate the existence of such impact in France anymore. Therefore, they put Voltaire into the jail and subsequently exiled to England in 1726.
Nevertheless, the trip to England enlightened Voltaire at another area: the science. During that time, Voltaire got to be exposed to the scientific thoughts from the British
people: Newton, Bacon and Locke, etc. He found those ideas amazing and started to promote sci...


... middle of paper ...


...in Optimism, or the priests from the church, throughout the entire book. Candide had all kinds of misfortune, but he was still happy and believed that those disasters were just trials from the God, which made him look like a fool. After the Candide was published, people in France were astonished and ignited the huge debate of individualism and Christianity.
In conclusion, from Letters on England and the Candidate, Voltaire showed his intelligence in explaining the thoughts of science and utilizing sarcasm to attack the current political and religious traditions in France. Also, from his work, he showed the life that he had experienced before, and the ideas that promoted The Enlightenment and the revolutions: the freedom of religion, scientific thoughts, skepticism and experiential philosophy.


Works Cited

Voltaire, Letters on England
Voltaire, the Candide

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