Candide : A Reflection Of The Enlightenment

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Candide: A Reflection of the Enlightenment

Francois-Marie Arouet, otherwise known as Voltaire was an 18th century French philosopher and writer during the Enlightenment period. Voltaire’s most famous work of literature; Candide follows a young man who grows up in a Baron’s castle (Castle Thunder-ten-tronckh), under the instruction of Dr. Pangloss, a tutor and philosopher who worships optimism even under extreme circumstances. Throughout Voltaire’s novel, Candide and his companions encounter a variety of tortures, mental and physical mishaps as well as dramatic fortune turnarounds. Candide uses humor to poke fun at warfare as well as religious and social institutions throughout the novel. These previously thought to be powerful institutions such as the church, aristocracy, and military are heavily critiqued and mocked as Voltaire aims to display what was wrong with society via wit, irony and satire while advancing Enlightenment values. (Perry 86) First, to understand Voltaire’s motive and support of Enlightenment it is essential to understand what The Enlightenment was and when it took place. By definition the Enlightenment was, “an array of intellectual and cultural activities of the 1700’s distinguished by a worldview informed by rational values and scientific inquiry” (Backman G-5) This mentality of faith in progress, rejection of tradition, and confidence in human reasons was started after the Scientific Revolution and the 30 Year’s War. The Scientific Revolution
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