The Enlightenment: The Ideas Of The Enlightenment

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The Enlightenment was a cultural movement, which occurred during the 18th century, characterised by loss of faith in traditional religion and a turn towards human rights, politics and science. The ideas of the Enlightenment were highly influenced by many French philosophers, such as Voltaire, who highly contributed in displaying his philosophies to the world. François-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire, considered to be one of the greatest Enlightenment writer, was a French Philosopher and writer born in November 21, 1694 in Paris, son of a minor treasury official. Voltaire received great education being born in a middle class family, and was sent to a Jesuit Collège called Louis-le-Grand from 1704 to 1711. There he began to demonstrate…show more content…
Voltaire was a strong advocate of freedom of speech and believed that all rational human beings were capable of thinking for themselves and therefore did not need any institutions thinking for him. One of the main aspects of his philosophy, was that one should doubt everything until proven otherwise, also known as empiricism. He believed that reason and logic added to science were the key components that would create an Enlightened man. Like most philosophers during the Enlightenment, Voltaire was a strong believer that man was born with three natural rights; life, liberty and right to property. In his major works he explored many themes. He wrote about the establishment of religious tolerance and the growth of material prosperity. He additionally wrote and believed that great men were not warmongers and they choose instead to further civilisation. He also chose to write about the respect for the rights of man by the abolition of torture and useless…show more content…
The epic poems “Henriade”, written in 1723 and “The Maid of Orleans”, which he began to write in 1730 and never fully completed, fall under the category of his most well known poetry. Voltaire’s first play, Oedipe, written during his imprisonment in Bastille in 1718, is what gained him fame. Oedipe was followed by various dramatic tragedies, including “Mariamne” (1724), “Zaïre” (1732), “Mahomet” (1736) and “Nanine” (1749). His historical works, contained “The Age of Louis XIV”, written in 1751 and “Essay on the Customs and the Spirit of the Nations”, written in 1756. In the latter one, Voltaire mainly focused on the arts and the social history, as to trace the development of world civilisation. Voltaire’s philosophical works, finally, are what brought him fame and popularity. His most famous philosophical works are Micromégas, written in 1752, Plato’s Dream, written in 1756 and finally his most important and well known novella,
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