Voltaire a Product of or Critic of the Age of Enlightenment

Voltaire a Product of or Critic of the Age of Enlightenment...

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It is hard for one to say that Voltaire was either a product of, or critic of, the Age of Enlightenment; some would consider him more of a both if he was anything. He was a strong critic of the hold the Catholic Church held over most of Europe and the ground they were gaining in the New World. However, he would never come out and just speak his mind, instead he used his power of language to underhandedly make fun of and criticize the church. With the vast popularity of his works, he enlisted some what of a secret army of enlightened thinkers which, overtime, began to lessen the power of the Church over the State. Of his vast collections of works, none speak his views more clearly than his novel Candide. Using the character of a naïve European boy, he dealt a devastating blow to the Catholic Church. One of the main tools Voltaire uses in Candide is satire. The book is filled with satirical jokes on the optimism of the characters of the novel. Starting with the first chapter, we meet the hero Candide working at his Baron’s castle, who is guided by his tutor Dr. Pangloss, he is the first of the overly optimistic characters of the novel. He states that everything in the world is meant to be, because God created the world, and God is perfect. Voltaire chose this character to be the leader in, what he believed to be, the complete wrongfulness of the Catholic Church. At this time in the world people were for the most part illiterate, their only source for guidance was their local priest when they went to worship. The public believed what their priests told them and never really
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This note was uploaded on 12/09/2008 for the course HIS 2010 taught by Professor Voss-hubbard during the Spring '08 term at E. Illinois.

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Voltaire a Product of or Critic of the Age of Enlightenment...

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