Voltaire's Impact On Society In Candide

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Throughout history, there have been numerous eras of change and revolution in thought and social practise; however, none have been as momentous and influential in changing Europe as the period of Enlightenment that spread across the continent between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. With the rise of “enlightened” thought, there was an influx of new writers that brought forth new and stimulating ideas, which caused quite a stir in the conservative areas of the world. Widely acclaimed writers and philosophers, such as Voltaire, touched upon concerning and hypocritical social norms, in satirical pieces, in an effort to provide the public with honest commentary on how they saw society. Adam Smith, a writer who in many ways became the father …show more content…
These social laws were often established by monarchs and enforced by nobles or lords and quite often discriminated against the minorities, be it racially or religiously. Voltaire became famous for his satirical interpretation of society’s rules and expectations through his writings. In Candide, he makes a point of illustrating the aristocracy in an unassuming light: “My Lady Baroness, who weighed three hundred and fifty pounds, consequently was a person of no small consideration; and then she did the honours of the house with a dignity that commanded universal respect” (Voltaire). His less than pleasing description of the high-ranking aristocrats was meant to shatter people’s perception of the noble class as being lofty or untouchable. He made the point that besides the idea of their inherited privileges, aristocrats were no different than ordinary people. Voltaire was also quick to bring light to the horrors and hypocrisy of slavery, as well as, the impact that power had on dehumanizing other people. The words of the slave bring a sense of reality to Voltaire’s work: “When we labour in the sugar works, and the mill happens to snatch hold of a finger, they instantly chop off our hand… it is at this expense that you eat sugar in Europe” (Voltaire). His writings touched upon real issues he saw in the world and the immorality behind the actions of a few that affected a great many. He became one of the most influential writers of his time as a result of his clever and innovative approach in expressing the faults in society and the world. He wrote words of tolerance and acceptance in response to flaws that he found in society, which had been incredibly new at the time. Voltaire ended up being one of the most important writers of the era because he changed the way people perceived the workings of society, the roles that the aristocracy, and the

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