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Voltaire vs. Versailles Essay

  • Submitted by: izzydi123
  • on April 1, 2014
  • Category: History
  • Length: 1,052 words

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Below is an essay on "Voltaire vs. Versailles" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Voltaire uses his novel to tell a “wild ‘n’ crazy” adventure story. He writes to show people that there is a different way to live. Voltaire criticizes the pre-modern world, based on its politics, political structures, and religion. He does this by incorporating different stories into his novel. In this essay, I will be talking about how the use of stories in his novel criticizes the pre-modern world.
One of Voltaire’s first criticisms arises in Chapter 11, with the story of the old lady. This whole story is written as a mockery of organized religion. To start with, the old woman was “the daughter of Pope Urban X”, (Candide, p.60). This is a joke, because while it appears to be just background information, it is actually a disgrace. Catholic priests are celibate, and therefore cannot have any children. It would be a huge scandal for someone like the Pope to have a daughter. In addition, this story progresses to the kidnapping of the woman and her mother and servants, and they are taken to Morocco. It is here that, “At length I saw all our Italian women and my mother mangled and torn in pieces by the monsters who contended for them,” (Candide, p.62). This was an atrocious act, but despite killing and dismembering women, the Moroccans still bothered to pray to their God, even after committing such an atrocity, “and yet they never missed the five stated times of prayer enjoined by their prophet Mahomet.” (Candide, p.63). This demonstration of violence and then a fake penance is Voltaire’s way of making fun of organized religion as a whole. Being part of an organized religion does not make people act better. In fact, if anything, it supports their monstrous behavior, because they know if they fake penance, God will forgive them. Voltaire is saying that just because organized religion thinks it makes people better, in reality, it does nothing to improve their character.  
Voltaire then progresses the story to talk about how Europeans feel the need to dominate other...

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