Voltaire's Candide: Commentary On The French Enlightenment

415 Words2 Pages
Voltaire’s Candide: Commentary on the French Enlightenment Established as the “greatest of the French satirists”, François-Marie Arouet, later to be known as Voltaire, has been praised throughout history for his reconfiguration of freedom of thought during France’s Enlightenment. This Enlightenment was a movement that supported and explored the application of using rational thought to explain natural occurrences. Voltaire uses his novel Candide to bring the hypocrisy of the world around him to the attention of the public while challenging those at the helm of this movement. Candide criticizes the societal aspects of the French Enlightenment, such as organized religion and class systems, while still staying connected to its original biases. Voltaire uses certain characters to satirize the matters he…show more content…
In the first chapter, Baron Thunder-ten-trockh and the Baroness are introduced to represent the pretentiousness attitudes of the noble. Although he has no honest qualifications to be the Baron, his position of power is simply justified by his lineage and who he was born to. The Baroness, Candide's mother, even refuses to wed Candide's father because "he could only claim seventy-one quarterings" (Voltaire 19). These two characters are meant to represent the lack of a true hierarchy during this time; there is no difference between commoners and the noble. Voltaire formulated the Baron and Baroness to condemn the supposed class ranks and to show these positions are all only based on luck and connections. Along with the comments that Candide makes on nobility, Voltaire also satirizes the philosophers of his day. The tutor Pangloss is designed as a parody of philosophers in the Enlightenment who debate and theorize without bringing about any real change. The immense knowledge Voltaire gave
Open Document