Voltaire's Use of Satire to Compare Europe and El Dorado Essay

Voltaire's Use of Satire to Compare Europe and El Dorado Essay

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Voltaire's Use of Satire to Compare Europe and El Dorado
The late seventeenth century was a time of change, a time of ushering out the old and bringing in the new. This was a period of exploring logic and understanding instead of religion to answer one's questions. Otherwise known as the Age of Enlightenment, society was out to seek reason rather than to find all of their answers from the Catholic Church or other faiths. Voltaire's story Candide displays his thoughts on the Enlightenment by mocking the monarch and currency system of a small village. By using satirical language and a taunting tone of voice while speaking of the king's kindness and the villagers' abundance of wealth, Candide demonstrates how new interpretations on nature can be brought about while poking fun at the effects of these changes.
At the beginning of the 17th chapter of Candide, we come to find that Candide and Cacambo are stranded after their horses die and they run out of supplies. They eventually come to the bank of a river where they find and take a canoe down the river searching for civilization. They end up on the shores of a village that is surrounded by unclimbable mountains. This village is known as El Dorado and it is unique for this time for multiple reasons. Since it is surrounded by these mountains, no outsiders can really enter or leave. This has made El Dorado into a utopian village. This means that everything is perfect in society and that there is hardly any controversy. This is shown when Candide and Cacambo speak with the old man and also when they speak to the king of El Dorado. When Candide and Cocambo speak with the old man, that is when they learn what El Dorado is truly like. They are fascinated over the fact that everyone concurs...


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...he Age of Enlightenment in his writing. He is initially trying to show that El Dorado is a successful village where the philosophy behind scientific breakthroughs from the scientific revolution were applied to politics and religion. Which means that science, religion, and philosophy coexist in the nation of El Dorado. This was something that most of Europe was trying to do at the time, yet many people fell to the Catholic Church and their rulers to persecution over their practices. Voltaire had witnessed these things in France and is what really drove him to begin writing about the journey made by Candide to find Miss Cunégonde. Through his writing, he is able to express his philosophy and beliefs of how he believed Europe should truly be.


Works Cited

Voltaire, and David Wootton. "Candide." Candide and Related Texts. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2000. 35-42. Print

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