Hypocrisy In Voltaire's Candide

Decent Essays

Yejin Kim
Ms. Feldkamp
12 AP 1st hour
Blinded Voltaire is considered as one of the greatest Enlightenment writers in France for his extensive use of literary elements to convey his message. Voltaire satirizes different aspects of society to expose their absurdity in most of his writings. In Candide, Voltaire, by employing situational irony, mocks the blindness of society, magnifying the narrow-minded human nature. Throughout the novel, Candide comes across many religious leaders during his journey that Voltaire portrays with irony and hypocrisy. After escaping to Holland in the beginning of the novel, Candide encounters an orator who has been addressing on the subject of charity for a whole hour. The orator, when asked for food, tells Candide that he “don’t [doesn’t] deserve to eat” because Candide does not believe that the Pope is Antichrist. (27) Although people around him are actually suffering from continuous war and devastating poverty, the orator only seems to care about giving a speech on charity and converting others to his religious beliefs. Not to mention that his own religious belief or speech, ironically, also encourages reaching out to those in need. Stubborn and egoistic orator is engulfed with his certainness in his belief, and fails to recognize it himself that he, in fact, is going against his own belief. Another example of hypocrisy of religion is shown by the Grand Inquisitor who makes a deal with Don Issachar to share Cunegonde as a mistress.

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