Essay on Candide: a Candid Satire

931 Words Mar 30th, 2011 4 Pages
Candide is a humorous, far-fetched story satirizing the optimism promoted by the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment. Voltaire uses satire as a means of pointing out injustice, cruelty and bigotry that is commonly found in the human society. Although the tale seems light and comical, Voltaire has more serious intentions behind the laughable plot line. Candide can therefore be classified as a satire because it combines humor and wit to bring about a change in society’s view on matters such as religion, war, and the level of optimism one must contain. Throughout the book, Candide, the main character, is introduced to a number of religious characters including the Protestant minister, the Grand Inquisitor, and the Jesuit Baron. …show more content…
To further satirize the Inquisitor’s support of the ridiculous auto-da-fe, Voltaire writes about another earthquake that happens right after the killing of the innocent people. Although Voltaire constantly uses satire to emphasize the hypocrisy and goings-on of the Catholic Church, he does not condemn the follower of the religion but those who seek power through the institution of religion. War is another evil in which Voltaire satirizes in Candide. He uses the cruelty of the Bulgarian army as a basis. For instance, Candide is captured by the Bulgarians and shown brutal violence when given the choice “to be beaten thirty-six times by the whole regiments, or receive twelve lead bullets at once in his brain” (19). Another example of brutality the Bulgarians display is when they burn the Abarian village, killing men and raping, disemboweling, and dismembering innocent women and children. Voltaire uses these examples to demonstrate the inhumane vulgarity of many belligerent groups during times of war. Although in the book the violent actions are backed up with statements such as “it is in accordance with the rules of international law” (20), Voltaire drenches them in satire, making it clear he thinks this torture is cruel and unjustified. Even though religion and war are subjects Voltaire satirizes, they are merely components that make up the big picture which is the views of Leibniz’s philosophy: All is for the best. Voltaire, highly disagreeing with this

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