Voltaire Satire Analysis

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The life of Voltaire is filled with criticism and satire. Wielding literary genius, and an uncompromising demeanor, the great author was willing to place any person, organization, or nation on his metaphorical chopping block. One of his favorite targets was the Inquisition. Viewed by Denis Diderot as the "sublime, honorable, and dear Anti-Christ," Voltaire attack the Catholic Church with relentless conviction (Davis et. al 299). In particular, he criticized any group who placed supernatural causes for natural disasters. From chapter five through eight of Candide, Voltaire ridiculed not only the Portuguese response to the great earthquake of Lisbon on November 1, 1755, but also the hypocrisy of the Inquisition. With one stone, he roasts the Portuguese for this willingness to look for supernatural protection for the disaster (the Inquisition)…show more content…
The Age of Enlightenment, symbolized within eighteenth century Europe, was defined by the active switch, within European culture, of placing one's faith within human reason instead of a supernatural deity. In place of religion, Enlightenment thinkers argued, human reason is the essential tool needed to improve society (Davis et. al 296). Championing this viewpoint was Voltaire. Born in 1694, his early exposure to and adoption of Deism, the concept that the world was created by "a rational deity," that "left the running of it to natural laws," (Davis et. al 297), combined with his classical education by the Jesuits, gave Voltaire the motivation and rhetorical tools to attack Christianity. To the "enlightened" Voltaire, he looked upon any attempt to view human disaster, such as the Lisbon earthquake, as part of the plan of a supernatural power with disdain and a worthy subject of attack. At the same time, he strove to expose the immorality and greed present in people of power, especially religious

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