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Candide paper - Voltaire's Satire of Religious Figures and...

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Voltaire’s Satire of Religious Figures and Practices in the Candide Colin Gerber History 4C Professor Dawson TA: Todd Wahlstrom October 18 th , 2007
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Gerber 1 Satire by definition is a literary tool that is meant to criticize a practice or aspect of society; this is done to bring to light issues and to even motivate change within the segment of society that is the target of the satire. Voltaire was a student of this literary practice and used it to great affect to help persuade the public of his enlightened view points and philosophies. One work that exemplifies Voltaire’s utilization of satire is the work Candide . In Candide , Voltaire offers many examples and characters to undermine religion and religious figures, particularly those of the Catholic Church, which was the dominate European religious institution the time. This satire greatly attacks the socially and financially corrupt hypocritical practices of the Church and religion as a whole along with the hypocritical actions of its agents. During the course of the book the protagonist, Candide, pursues his love Cunégonde. At one point in the story she becomes captive of the Grand Inquisitor who is a religious official involved with the Spanish Inquisition, which was a violent and systematic persecution of Jews and Muslims. Voltaire brings to light the Inquisitor’s immoral practices, with Cunégonde forced into service as the Inquisitor’s mistress; the Grand Inquisitor threatens Cunégonde’s Jewish master with persecution if he does not hand her over to him to be his mistress (20). The hypocritical Inquisitor uses fear and threats to gain the service of Cunégonde as his mistress. This is an example by Voltaire in
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