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Ancien Regime In Candide Essay

735 words - 3 pages

Voltaire satirizes the nobility or aristocracy in various instances throughout the play. One instance, is when Voltaire gives the name of the barony-“Thunder-ten-tronckh” (1). This primitive and overall comical name undercuts the family’s pride in their noble heritage. Throughout Candide Voltaire mocks the aristocracy’s belief in “natural” superiority by birth. The baron’s sister, for instance, has refused to marry Candide’s father because he “could prove only seventy-one quarterings”, while her own coat of arms had seventy-two (1). This exaggeration, a classic tool of satire, makes the nobility’s concern over the subtleties of birth look absurd. Voltaire uses exaggeration of this sort throughout the novel to expose the irrationality of various beliefs—and, more importantly, the irrationality of pursuing any belief to an extreme degree.
Absolute monarchy is criticized by Voltaire through the various rulers and monarchs, as well as the institutions of these monarchs, he symbolically portrays throughout Candide. One important example is the Bulgarian King, modeled after Frederick the Great of Prussia, whose army is greatly impressed by Candide’s abilities to “turn right, turn left, raise the ramrod, return the ramrod, take aim, fire”, and, as a result of these abilities, Candide was “regarded as a prodigy by his comrades” (5). Through this portrayal, Voltaire successfully satirizes the army and Prussian ideology and it’s base of having a strong military above all else in society.
Throughout Candide, Voltaire has expressed people who are either part of, connected with , or concerned with the government. these people include the King of Prussia, The Grand Inquisitor, and Candide. Candide, for the majority of the novel, is extremely interested with the Baron’s castle, and is presented as a fool, who is astonished by a castle that has “”a door and windows…[and a] great hall...with a piece of tapestry” (2). Clearly, Voltaire’s intention at this point of the novel is to show the foolhardy characteristics of Candide and satirize the Baron’s supposed wealth and power. As a result, of this satirization, Voltaire establishes the aristocratic power as being a fraudulent factor in...

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