Essay about Voltaire And Toleration By Voltaire

Essay about Voltaire And Toleration By Voltaire

Length: 1043 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Voltaire and Toleration
In Voltaire’s Essay on Toleration, he discuses the “Calas Affair” one of the most influential controversies during the eighteenth century. Voltaire argues from the point of reason against the religious eccentric masses that condemned an innocent man to torture and death. Voltaire disagreed with the lack of evidence in the trial, the influence of mass religious hysteria, and the obvious wrongful killing of an innocent man. The justice system in Toulouse like much of France was heavily influenced by the aristocracy and after the revocation of The Edict of Nantes, France had taken a step back in the fight for religious tolerance. Voltaire’s need was to identify the wrong doing in the trial and bring religious tolerance to trials and to have an emphasis on reason over religious persecution.
The eighteenth century was a time of change; the Protestant Reformation had awakened a time of religious consciousness that affected all aspects of society. In the case of Jean Calas, his religion was used against him and ended in his torture and death. Voltaire like many enlightened thinkers argued from the point of reason and science over mass hysteria and religious persecution of anti-Catholics. The first rumor of Calas murdering his son over his unconfirmed conversion to Catholicism was recorded by Voltaire to be spread by the masses. In his essay he stated, “The cry was soon repeated on all sides; some adding that the deceased was to have abjured Protestantism on the following day, and that the family and young Lavaisse had strangled him out of hatred of the Catholic religion. In a moment all doubt had disappeared”(4). Voltaire argues that the first indication of guilt was offered by the Catholic masses who assumed th...


... middle of paper ...


...masses superstitions, hatred and lack of guilt in condemning Calas to death. Voltaires personal repulsion with this case fed his writings against the French courts system and furthered his search for justice.
Voltaire’s account of Jean Calas murder and trial give insight into French society and judicial system in the mid eighteenth century. His writings fueled those in society to think beyond religious intolerance to give reason a chance. The account of Jean Calas was just one of many injustices that happened during this era of turmoil and religious frustrations. Voltaire begs his reader to question society and the masses and look for reason and science to explain the events occurring around them. The Enlightenment period was full of injustices and religious fanaticism, but with writers like Voltaire some began to question the authority of the church and its laws.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Voltaire and the Enlightenment Essay

- Voltaire and the Enlightenment During the eighteenth century a group of French writers and critics known as the Philosophes favored change and reform. They believed in the power of the human mind, which was an idea that was inspired by the Scientific Revolution. The philosophes had faith in the power of rational criticism to challenge the tradition of the past. They also sought to apply the rules of reason and common sense to nearly all major institutions and social practices. The philosophes proposed a new kind of organized religion, a social religion which encouraged harmony and tolerance while strengthening the bonds of moral obligations within society....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Better Essays
1368 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on The Effect of European Religions

- From the 16th to 18th century, Europe underwent various religious changes that had an enormous impact on the religious state of Europe as a whole. It tested nearly all rulers regarding their ability to either conform or accept the religious changes in an attempt to tolerate them or disregard any change and not recognize them. Various European rulers took different approaches where some rulers tolerated these new changes under certain conditions and others didn’t practice any kind of toleration. Some rulers were even willing to compromise in regards to religious toleration in order to maintain the peace and unity among their citizens....   [tags: changes, peace, unity, toleration]

Better Essays
978 words (2.8 pages)

Candide: Voltaire against Leibniz’ Optimism? Essay example

- Candide: Voltaire against Leibniz’ Optimism. François-Marie Arouet, better known under his pen name Voltaire, was one of the leading philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment. He is considered the epitome of the eighteenth century, which has been named le siècle de Voltaire. His philosophical novel or conte, Candide, was published in 1759 and remains one of his most well known and widely read of his works—particularly for the English reader. In one part of his Columbia dissertation “Voltaire and Leibniz,” Richard A....   [tags: Philosophy]

Better Essays
1835 words (5.2 pages)

Voltaire and the Beginning of the Enlightment Essay

- Francis Marie Arouet was born on November 21, 1694 in Paris, France. As a child, Arouet grew up in an atmosphere that strictly obeyed the rules of the church. During this time, faith in the church was an obligation for everyone in society and the authority of the church was never questioned, for this would definitely mean instant death. Meanwhile, Arouet enrolled at the Jesuit College of Louis-Le-Grande where he excelled in academics especially his skills in writing. After his schooling, Arouet became noticed by much of the aristocracy for his writing and eventually was imprisoned for supposedly composing two offensive works, the Puerto Regnanto and J’aivu.1 While serving his confinement, he...   [tags: Enlightenment of the 18th Century]

Better Essays
1318 words (3.8 pages)

Voltaire On The Church, True R Essay

- Voltaire an eighteenth century French philosopher and prolific writer is well known for his literary satirical attacks. One of Voltaire's attacks was of traditional Christianity and the Catholic church in On Toleration. He criticized the church on the grounds that it was overly superstitious. There were many superstitions that were held by the church: a geocentric universe, the tides not being due to gravity, a rainbow not being a phenomenon of light, etc. Voltaire felt that the most grievous of these superstitions was the belief that only those who follow their own religion are given eternal salvation and all others will suffer eternal damnation....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
490 words (1.4 pages)

Religious Toleration during the Enlightenment Essay

- The Enlightenment of the 18th century evolved due to the many changes brought about by the Scientific Revolution. With all of the new scientific discoveries, new thought processes were developed. The scientists of the Scientific Revolution brought about revolutionary change. These scientists inspired the philosophes of the Enlightenment to challenge the ways of the "Old Regime" and question the ideas of the church. Philosophers such as Francois Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and John Locke published their controversial ideas and these ideas along with some important political action, helped to mold a new type of society....   [tags: Enlightenment of the 18th Century]

Better Essays
1289 words (3.7 pages)

Francois Marie Arouet Essay

- Francois Marie Arouet (he would later take the name Voltaire) was born November 21, 1694 as a sickly child who was not expected to live. His father was a rather prosperous lawyer, and was determined that, should he live, his son ought to study law. Thus Voltaire was enrolled in 1704 in the Jesuit College of Louis-Le-Grande. Remaining at the College until his seventeenth year, Voltaire excelled in academics and won much acclaim, while simultaneously receiving a sound liberal education and developing his ability to write....   [tags: Voltaire]

Free Essays
775 words (2.2 pages)

A Comparison of the Ideals of Bronte in Jane Eyre and Voltaire in Candide

- The Ideals of Bronte in Jane Eyre and Voltaire in Candide        Subjective novelists tend to use personal attitudes to shape their characters. Whether it be an interjection of opinion here, or an allusion to personal experience there, the beauty of a story lies in the clever disclosure of the author's personality. Charlotte Bronte and Voltaire are no exceptions. Their most notable leading characters, Jane Eyre and Candide, represent direct expressions of the respective author's emotions and impressions....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Better Essays
2667 words (7.6 pages)

Voltaire's Candide Essay

- 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....   [tags: Voltaire Candide ]

Free Essays
1186 words (3.4 pages)

Voltaire's Candide Essay

- Voltaire's Candide Voltaire, whose real name was Francois Marie Arouet, was a man whose cynical style of writing brought attention upon himself, both in the positive aspect and in the negative. Francois associated himself with a group of politically power-hungry people who held a frantic hatred against the duke of Orleans. He was wrongly believed to have printed two libelous poems that defaced the duke and due to the false accusation he was imprisoned in the Bastille....   [tags: Voltaire Candide]

Free Essays
1025 words (2.9 pages)