Satire in Moliere’s Tartuffe, Voltaire’s Candide, and Swift’s A Modest Proposal

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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. In Moliere’s “Tartuffe,” although many things and behaviors are satirized, the play focuses mainly on the issue of religious hypocrisy. Whereas Tartuffe is the obvious hypocrite and…show more content…
But once Tartuffe is unmasked and his hypocrisy discovered, Orgon reverses himself and determines to hate and persecute all pious men. Orgon in the play seems to represent man's extravagant and uncontrollable nature, which never takes the right and rational direction, but instead, constantly shifts between absurd extremes. In “Candide,” Voltaire’s satiric theme is broad and varied. Although the most interesting satire is the one on religion, especially the utopia in which Candide starts off the story in, the first in importance is philosophical optimism, specifically Pangloss’s philosophy which in the novel this philosophical optimism seems to represent mankind's overall and overused optimism as means to copping with tragedy or loss. Pangloss’s philosophy is both the most important point for debate among the novel’s characters and one of the main targets of Voltaire’s satire. Pangloss is inevitably humorous “Pangloss gave instruction in metaphysico-theologico-cosmolo-nigology" his character is very predictable and superficial, his so called doctrine on optimism which is voiced out repeatedly that even great evil leads to good is opposed gross absurdity with absurdity. "It is clear, said he, that things cannot be

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