The Importance Of Being Earnest And Candide

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Satire is defined by the usage of various literary devices, such as irony, puns, and backwards logic, to criticize and poke fun at contemporary issues. Satire is commonly used to make a statement about society from the authors’ point of view. Two classical satirical works are Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and Voltaire’s Candide. Wilde was an author who used backwards logic and frivolity extensively to attack his targets, while Voltaire was a philosopher who used sarcasm and brutal imagery against his. Although the two works were published nearly one hundred years apart, there are obvious similarities in the satirical style. Both stories use backwards logic extensively to highlight the absurdity of the world they lived in.…show more content…
Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” (47) Obviously Jack could not help losing his parents, and Wilde uses this backwards logic to satirize his society. Voltaire uses backwards logic as well. For example, when Candide became ill, Voltaire writes: “With the aid of medicines and bloodlettings, Candide’s illness became serious.” (77) The reader expects medicines to help Candide, but Voltaire uses this flawed logic to satirize the medical practices of his time. The novels are similar in tone as well. Both were published to cause controversy among the people that read them, and therefore are written in a mocking tone, and interspersed with jokes. In Candide, when the Anabaptist is drowning, Candide tries to jump into the water and save him: “Pangloss the philosopher stopped him by proving to him that the Lisbon harbor was formed expressly for the Anabaptist to drown in. As he was proving this a priori, the ship split open and everyone perished except Pangloss, Candide, and the brutal sailor who had drowned the virtuous Anabaptist…” (26) In this passage, Voltaire darkly jokes about the dangers of optimism, as Pangloss’ need to be optimistic led to the death of the Anabaptist. This sort of
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