The Historical Context Of Voltaire's Candide

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Voltaire (1694-1778) was a French writer, historian and prominent philosophical figure whose ideas and writings left a mark on history. During his time, Voltaire’s theories sparked great controversy. In Voltaire’s best-known work Candide, he criticizes philosophical, religious, political, and social systems of the time which today we would unknowingly turn a blind eye to. Knowing the historical context of Candide, the reader’s understanding and interpretation of characters and ideas in it enhance the work by connecting them to the voices of history present in Voltaire’s time. For starters, the reader must be aware of historical events that had occurred and were occurring to understand the historical context of Candide. Prior to the Enlightenment in Voltaire’s time, the Reformation took place. The Reformation, often referred to as the Protestant Reformation, was a schism in Western Christianity that exposed the corruption in the church with the main goal to reform it. As a result, new revolutionary ideas about individualism and rationality materialized. Furthermore, the Enlightenment was born years later. The Enlightenment can be described as the revolution of science and philosophy. Enlightenment ideology stemmed from several Reformation ideas and generally attacked things like superstition, tradition and religion. Particularly, Voltaire’s skepticism and mockery of the church and religious figures began with his own experience attending a Jesuit college. There he appreciated

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