Voltaire’s relationship with Emilie du Chatelet caused his view of love to be distorted. In his book, Candide, Voltaire portrays love as absurd. Their love for each other went past all conventional ways of doing things.
He met her when she was still young. The sparks didn’t fly at their first meeting. They didn’t become close until they met again in 1733. They started their love affair. They started their intellectual friendship. They were together to the end. Even if the attraction and affection wasn’t the same as in the beginning of their relationship, they still cared for each other until the end. They still cared for one another even when they found others whom they became attracted to. He supported her when she needed him. He encouraged her to continue pursuing more knowledge and intellect.
Emilie du Chatelet was not a conventional woman, given the time. Like many girls at the time she was educated at home. She valued her independence and wanted to marry someone who would value it as well. She married Marquise du Chatelet-Laumont in 1725. At the age of 27 she had her last child and went back to her study of mathematics. She wanted to join the discussion in salons, but was not admitted to join until she went dressed as a man. “Emilie’s interest in mathematics and science overlapped with her affairs of the heart.” She had a fling with one of her tutors, Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertius. Her affair with Voltaire lasted until the end of her life.
Voltaire and Emilie met in 1733. They had mutual friends like The Duc de Richelieu, whom Voltaire was friends with and Emilie had an affair with. They were infatuated with each other. “Voltaire wrote to a friend about Emilie: ‘Everything about her is noble, her countenance, her tastes, the style of her letters, her discourses, her politeness. … her conversation is agreeable and interesting.’” Their malapropos public fling was frowned upon by Paris’ society. They didn’t care about how their relationship was labeled because they were so in love, nothing else mattered. Emilie’s husband was mindful of their relationship and permitted it. “In Mme. Du Châtelet Voltaire found a woman who not only shred his interest in science but was in position to provide him with a safe retreat from the hostile world.” Voltaire move to Cirey with Emilie.
Even after their affair ended they still cared for one another. Voltaire fell for his niece and Emilie fell for Jean-François, marquis de Saint-Lambert. When Emilie realized she was pregnant with his Saint-Lambert’s child, Voltaire helped her to trick her husband that it was his child. Voltaire’s intellectual relationship with Emilie was what kept them together even after all the sparks between...