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Francois Marie Arouet (Voltaire) Essay

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Updated: May 2nd, 2019

Francois Marie Arouet (Voltaire) was a French philosopher and a writer. Voltaire was born in the year 1694 in Paris. As a young boy, Voltaire received his education at the Jesuit school between the years 1704 and 1711. At the school, Voltaire learned Latin, Greek, English, and Spanish.

Between the years 1711 and 1713, Voltaire studied law while working as a secretary in Paris. Later on, Voltaire quitted the law school, and concentrated on writing contrary to his father’s wishes. As a writer, he wrote several writings in all major literary fields. It is estimated that he wrote more than 1800 books, 20 000 letters and numerous brochures. Through his works, Voltaire became prominent for his wit and hilarious verses.

During the Voltaire’s time, Europe was going through the age of enlightenment. With contribution from various intellectuals, advance knowledge spread across most urban areas in Europe. In spite of the advanced knowledge, it should be noted that stern and suppressive laws with severe consequences were practiced at the time. Similarly, it was blasphemous to champion Christian dogmas.

In spite of this, Voltaire became a social reformist, and criticized religious intolerance, war, and social injustices in French institutions. As a result, Voltaire was arrested severally and imprisoned by the authorities. To date, Voltaire works are considered absurd. His works portray him as a racist individual, who has no respect for the Jews and the Africans. More often, he questions the Africans’ intellectual ability due to their involvement in the slave trade. Until his death, at the age of 83, Voltaire worked as a writer.

In writings, satire refers to the art of using irony, mockery and sarcasm to provoke individuals’ or society’s behaviors. For a writing to be acknowledged as a satire, it must possess the following five characteristics: be targeted at the crooked, be humorous, be reform oriented, be ironic, and be exaggerated. Satirical writings try to point out faults in society and organizations. By doing so, actions, injustices, shortcomings, and policies are denounced.

Most writers do not choose to express their thoughts through satire to cause harm or damage, but rather to expose the vices in the society through humorous and comical ways. As a result, appropriate use of satire is considered as the most effective way of exposing evil traits in the society.

In my opinion, Voltaire through Candide uses satire to condemn the world’s evil, Christian dogmas, and war in the society he lived in. Candide ridicules a variety of secular and idealistic theories. He sarcastically illustrates several inherent evils in the world such as earthquakes, diseases, and storms. Through this text, religious leaders and the authorities felt offended.

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