Voltaire's Use Of Satire In Candide

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According to dictionary.com, satire refers to “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.” (Dictionary.com) During the enlightenment period when Voltaire wrote Candide, communicating one’s displeasure with social and political issues was not acceptable and those who did were often looked down upon. By using satire, Voltaire is able to exaggerate his feelings while at the same time mocking social norms and those in power. Voltaire uses satire in Candide to communicate his opinions on several topics, which include, suicide, religion, sex, and the philosophy of optimism to name a few. Voltaire’s Candide is a story of a young man’s adventure and how his experiences change his philosophy on life. Although Candide’s adventures begin with a rather positive confidence that he lives in “the best of all possible worlds” his attitude is quickly transformed when he realizes the world is in fact full of evil. In…show more content…
Voltaire satirizes this philosophy by showing its absurdity through hyperbole (Magher). For example, the exaggeration of floggings, sexual assaults, hangings, corruption, and death, allow him to poke fun at the fact that it all ends up alright in the end and their life seems to have a happy ending. Even though Candide has given up on Optimism, Pangloss maintains his doctrine “while believing nothing of the kind” and Martin is convinced “that people are equally miserable wherever they are” (Thomas) Voltaire concludes Candide with a simple yet ironic realization made by Candide himself, that gardening is a busy task and it leaves no time for philosophical thinking, and that everyone is happier when they are merely working and stop thinking about the true meanings of life or the reason behind
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