Candide, written by Voltaire, was published in 1759 during the enlightenment era. During this time, the religious and philosophical institutions, especially the catholic church, were being attacked by enlightenment writers. Through their writing, these philosophical writers contradicted and questioned the ideas of the church.
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This moved many people’s opinions away from this thinking and believing in the ideas of these enlightenment writers. This included Voltaire. He believed in and supported many of the enlightenment era writers with their ideas. Through his writing, he attacked the religious and philosophical institutions with the use of satire. His satirical approach allowed him to mock and poke fun at many of the philosophical and religious institutions. He does this through Candide by using satire to create funny scenarios and situations in order to mock and expose the ridiculous ideas and beliefs of the different institutions which is seen many times throughout the book.The philosophical and religious institutions in the enlightenment era were mocked and ridiculed through Voltaire’s use of satire in Candide.
Voltaire uses satire to ridicule and mock both the religious, primarily the Christian Catholic church, and philosophical institutions and ideas that were present in the enlightenment era. The Catholic church was a very big target for ridicule by any enlightenment era writer of the time. This is because people were moving away from the ideas of the Catholic church and the idea of God and moving to a more philosophical and idealistic way of thinking. Voltaire used satire in his writing to also mock and ridicule the Catholic Church and it’s strict rules. One example used in Candide is when Candide is talking to the Orator about the Church. Candide is asked, My friend said the orator to him, do you believe the pope to be antichrist? I have not heard it, answered Candide; but whether he be, or whether he be not, I want bread(13). After this the orator’s wife poured a bucket of waste onto Candide’s head. This is an example of Candide using satire to create a funny situation surrounding the mocking of the church. This use of satire is used to mock and ridicule how strict and intense that the church can be towards the people. Candide gets a punishment from the orator’s wife for simply not caring much about the state of the Pope. Not only does this present satire, but tone as well. The humourous and comedic tone of the Orator’s wife pouring her waste on him helps add to the mocking. The reader becomes amused from the humorous tone in which they realize how overly strict and intense that the Catholic Church can be. The use of satire is present here as it is a humorous scene that shows the flaws of the Catholic Church.
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