Voltaire’s satire contains a strong sense of witful irony and parodies meant to elicit disgust at the topics he is criticizing. “Candide’s” sense of satire is largely derived from the Juvenalian satire which was created by the Roman satirist Juvenal. By using absurdist and ironic images of characters, satirists intend to invoke disgust or laughter at a topic to the point where it is rejected a legitimate. Thi is the point with Voltaire’s mockery of optimism in “Candide”.
In Candide, Voltaire employs the use of satire in order to expose the danger and nonsense in believing in the philosophical idea of Optimism through the character of Candide, who
In his novel Candide, Voltaire often criticized religious beliefs of the times. His criticism of religion surfaces throughout the entire story. The kindness of the Anabaptist that Candide met showed the silliness of religious prejudices. The old woman's story of her father, Pope Urban X, and the life of wealth she lived as a child shows the corruption of the Catholic clergy. Finally, the conversation Candide and Cacambo had with the old man in Eldorado shows the benefits of a simple religion, a contrast of the European religions of the time.
In addition to using irony to attack religious hypocrisy, Voltaire’s Candide uses irony to contest the ineffectiveness of logical conjecture, the demoralization of people by greed, and
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines satire as: “literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn.” Besides this definition satire can also be seen as the particular literary way of making possible the improvement of humanity and its institutions. In the three works: Moliere’s “Tartuffe,” Voltaire’s “Candide,” and Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” the authors indirectly criticize and ridicule human behavior and characteristics but with the goal for improving these faults rather than just demolishing them.
Candide was one of Voltaire’s major works, and is considered the most important by many historians and literary analysts. Throughout Candide, there are many scathing attacks, mostly through satire, irony, and absurd characters (Voltaire). Candide explores the hypocrisy that was rampant in the Church. Voltaire writes about the inhumanity of the clergy, most notably the Inquisitor, in hanging his fellow citizens over mere philosophical differences. The Inquisitor in Candide orders the flogging of Candide for merely “listening with an air of approval” (“Voltaire | Author and Philosopher”). Church officials are depicted as being the most sinful characters of all. Voltaire directly attacks the Church using examples of the hypocrites that could often be found within the Church at that time. Attacks against the
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere was one of the greatest writers of the seventeenth century, being considered by many the greatest author of French comedy. In his plays, called “comedies of manners”, Moliere satirizes the morals and social conventions of his contemporaneous human society by using stock characters. In Tartuffe, a comedy of five acts, the main topic is the analysis of religious hypocrisy and leader figures of the seventeenth century, portraying Tartuffe in contrast with personages like Orgon.
oltaire’s Candide provides an Enlightenment religious and social critique of the Old Regime though satire. In Candide, Voltaire depicts the hypocrisy of the religious leaders during the Old Regime time period along with the criticizing the idea that reason can overcome social turmoil.
Voltaire’s Candide is a lively satirical work wrought with black humor and caricature-like characters. Apart from being a humorous and entertaining masterpiece, Candide explores the metaphysical conflict humanity faces in attempting to make sense of the world and its struggles. In his work, Voltaire uses his characters to serve as caricatures or parodies of various contrasting philosophies which each in their own way attempt to confront and remedy this existential conflict. He frames these characters’ worldviews in such a way as to create a philosophical spectrum with optimism and pessimism being at opposite extremes amongst other worldviews, such as meliorism and quietism, within the spectrum.
Throughout Voltaire's life, he inspired people to use their reason to make decisions about religion. He believed in social religion which was the belief in God and in a world of future rewards and punishments.3 Social religion was as old as creation and believed by most people. However, it did contradict organized Christianity with its miracles, supernatural doctrines, and its religious duties. Voltaire made many attacks on the Bible and historic churches. He focused on the contradictions in the Bible and the improbabilities of miracles. The greatest of his attacks was on the Old Testament. Voltaire doubted the existence of Moses, said that the Pentateuch was absurd, and believed the Old Testament was just a "collection of fables." On the other hand, he also attacked the New Testament. He called Jesus "a good fellow, a coarse peasant, and a fanatic."4 Many people read Voltaire's writings on religion and so there was much dispute and conflict among the church. His attacks on the Bible made people think and use reason in their lives.
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.
The similarities between Moliere's Tartuffe and Voltaire's Candide are primarily rooted in common Enlightenment themes. For example, in both stories the writers focus on questioning and criticizing the nature of hierarchies in our society, particularly the members of the aristocratic or upper classes rather than "common" people. In Tartuffe, Orgon and his family are members of the aristocracy. Orgon owns his estate and clearly has enough money to provide for his entire family in addition to Tartuffe and his friend. Similarly, Voltaire's story focuses on Candide, who may be missing a fraction of his aristocratic family tree, but is still considered upper class. As the story progresses, the
Voltaire was a rebellious and radical thinker, whose sharp wit and pointed satire drew the ire of critics who say he disrespected the orthodoxy of church and state, and won the respect of a growing rationalist movement that had emerged out of the public sphere in Europe between the 17th and 18th centuries. Although Voltaire is known today for being a philosophical powerhouse, whose writing is the stuff of legend, for most of his life he only wrote plays, poems, and novels. It wasn’t until he was almost forty in 1733 that he published his first major philosophical work, “Letters Concerning the English Nation.” This was a series of letters that describe the customs, cultures and great men of England, and even though his praise for England, a country “where all the arts are honored and rewarded,” and where one could think “free and nobly without being held back by any servile fear,” may be overblown, they are important nonetheless, because it highlights the virtues that an Enlightened society should strive for. (114) In many ways these were not so much love letters to England, as much as they were a call for the rest of Europe to progress in the rationalist movement that England had set the tone for.
Today, Candide is used in the study of European Enlightenment thinkers and philosophers as a first-hand account of the faults within the value systems of government, religion, and society during the 18th Century. Through its sarcastic portrayal of seemingly absurd customs and traditions, Candide illustrates Europe in all of its flawed glory. As a prominent figure of the Enlightenment, Voltaire sought to publicize his views on society in a digestible, entertaining, and condensed medium like Candide (“Voltaire”). Written in a period of exile and fear in his life, Candide acted as Voltaire’s biting response to the crushing weight of outdated societal customs.
Hypocrisy’ as a common theme throughout literature has often been advocated by the author’s use of concealing the true characteristics or meaning of the character. ‘Tartuffe’ by Moliere is an amazing neo-classical drama, where it portrays the contradictory relationship between appearance and reality in terms of hypocrisy. In one hand, Tartuffe, the religious hypocrite, who always wears a false mask of untrue righteousness to deceive others around him, on the other hand in reality he turns out to be the falsifier. Despite Tartuffe is treacherous in his undertakings and manages to deceive some people, however he cannot help but reveals his true nature/characteristics whenever he is confronted by sincere individuals. In another sense, he fails to realize that there are at least some people who has the right knowledge and will be able to identify his true instinct. I believe by using Tartuffe as a model of ‘religious hypocrite’, Moliere superbly demonstrates the logic that although the inherent tendency of a hypocrite is to manipulate others with his deceitful virtue, yet he will only be able to misguide individuals, who are insincere and unwise.