Candide is a satire novel written by French historian and philosopher, François-Marie Arouet, also known as Voltaire. This book was published back in 1759, and was published in Geneva, Paris, and Amsterdam all at the same time. This book has a lot of historical context.
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It talks about events such as the Seven Years’ War and the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Voltaire is also critiquing the hypocritical religion, armies, and corrupt and unstable government from this time period. This book is utilized by world history courses around the world, for its deep historical meanings, and for students to develop a complex understanding of the time period. Voltaire wrote this book to put his input on the horrible events that were taking place during the time period. He wanted to speak against the disasters, and make fun of things he found to be hypocritical or stupid such as violation of human rights, organized religion, and when leaders abuse their authority. With this story, Voltaire was looking to entertain his audience, and the book was intended for everyone.
Voltaire knew he’d be facing harsh criticism with the book, because of his strong beliefs. Voltaire believed that humans were stupid, and very few were inherently smart. He also believed that the Roman Catholic Church was hypocritical, and that believed religion and government should be separate. He had been punished and imprisoned multiple times for his beliefs and writings. Yet he continues to write no matter the consequence. The message that Voltaire conveys in this novel is that life is not perfect. He is trying to illustrate that even if you think your life is bad, there are people who have it even worse, and that is shown through all the different people that Candide meets on his journey. Throughout his life, Voltaire has had to deal with religious hypocrisy, he even grew up with education at a Jesuit school, so religion has always been around him. It’s the same with humans abusing power, and humans not being smart. He grew up with this around him, and he felt that he needed to express this in parts of the book. The way Voltaire writes this book, influences the readers to agree with him. Since Voltaire’s writing is subtly persuasive, it ends up persuading the reader without them realizing it.
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