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The Use Of Satire In Voltaire’s Candide By Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

876 words - 4 pages

The Use of Satire in Voltaire’s Candide
Satire. According to dictionary.com it is “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues”. During a time when going against the common mindset, which at the time was philosophical optimism, was rare and often looked down upon, using satire in order to not only communicate one’s beliefs but also mock those who shared the mainstream train of thought was key. The use of satire in Voltaire's Candide aids in the exhibition of his pessimistic mindset towards the social, religious, philosophical, political, and scientific ...view middle of the document...

Leibniz blames people’s observations while Voltaire blames the faulty logic for the imperfections in the world.
Through his rejection of philosophical optimism, Voltaire began to form philosophies of his own. Despite not believing that God created the best possible world to live in, Voltaire did believe in God. The European Graduate School published a biography of Voltaire which remarked "Voltaire was also a fierce critique of religious traditions but that is not to say that he was averse to the idea of a supreme being. His understanding of God was deist, he reasoned that the existence of God was a question of reason and observation rather than of faith". This demonstrates that he did believe in and accept God, though in an unorthodoxed way, relying wholly on his reason and observations. Not only did these unique beliefs and idea spark some harsh feelings towards Leibniz, but they also forced Voltaire to better mask his criticism. Thus, the employment of satire in his novels, specifically Candide.
Throughout Candide Voltaire mercilessly satirizes and mocks many aspects of philosophical optimism. One of the most prevalent examples of this is displayed through Candide’s teacher, Pangloss. Acting as a stand-in for Leibniz in the novel, Voltaire portrays him as both ignorant and arrogant, initially introducing him as Candide’s “metaphysico-theologo-cosmoniogoly”(Voltaire 15) teacher. Pangloss’s egocentric personality
comes through when James the Anabaptist fell overboard on their way to Lisbon. About to jump in after him, Candide is stopped by his wise teacher who proclaims “the Lisbon harbor was formed expressly for the Anabaptist to drown in” (Voltaire 26). This concept...

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