Satire In Candide Analysis

Decent Essays

Tim Cronin
French Literature 026
Prof. Degroult

Voltaire's Criticism of Enlightened Beliefs
Through The Eyes of Candide

Voltaire, one the Enlightenment's greatest leaders was well known for his use of satire to expose and criticize vices of the 18th century. Through his writing, Voltaire successfully uses irony and parody as a means to satirize what he believes is wrong with 18th-century life. In his novel Candide, Voltaire focuses on many topics, specifically the pitfalls and dangers of optimism, the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, and political injustice. Although humorous, the irony and parody that exists in the novel serve the purpose of exposing the Enlightenment’s widely accepted views of political, philosophical, and religious practices through the eyes of Candide.

Voltaire had an appreciation for the more liberal and free societies which he witnessed in Britain. He believed that the political system in France was corrupt and favored the aristocracy while undermining commoner’s rights. In Candide, Voltaire parodies the Enlightenment’s magnificent view of lords as he describes the Baron of Westphalia:

The Baron was one of the most powerful lords in Westphalia, for his castle had not only a gate, but even windows, and his great hall was hung with tapestry. He used to hunt with his mastiffs and spaniels instead of greyhounds; his groom served him for huntsman; and the parson of the parish officiated as his grand almoner. They called

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