Satire In Candide Essay, Research Paper
Satire has always been apparent throughout literature. An example of satire in literature isAlexander Pope s The Dunciad in which he bitterly attacks poets and other writers who hefelt abused the English language. Throughout the novel Candide, Voltaire satirizes manythings. Because Voltaire satirizes these things it shows the naivet of the main character inthe book. Throughout the novel he satirizes many things which include nobility, themilitary, and chasity. Throughout Candide those of nobility are portrayed as pompous and oppressive toothers of lesser status. Voltaire sarcastically refers to My Lord the Baron as one of themost powerful lords in Westphalia, for his castle had a door and windows. The nobilityhere is still proud and condescending to those they consider lesser, Candide s mother thebaron s sister would not marry Candide s father because he lacked one quartering, despitetheir relatively humble holdings. They seem to be of the opinion that they have someinnate superiority over those of lesser rank, something only achievable by having thecorrect ancestry. This belief in superiority based not upon character, intelligence, orperformance is ridiculed throughout the book. The Baroness is not ridiculed but seeminglypraised for weigh[ing] about three hundred and fifty pounds. She and her family viewher not as a mass of fat, as would be the case were she a commoner, but a regal woman of status . Candide is rejected from the Barony when caught kissing Cunegonde behind thescreen, as the Baron could not stand for his daughter of seventy-two quartering s to bewith a man who could prove only seventy-one generations of nobility. This sameridiculous happening occurs when Candide meets up with Cunegonde s brother the firsttime since being banished. The brother greets Candide warmly and with tears, but whenCandide mentions wedding Cunegonde, he immediately becomes enraged and strikesCandide with his sword. Voltaire here again shows the ridiculous notion of superiority
over other the nobility believes they posses. Despite the fact that Cunegonde has beenraped several times and made a servant, she is still deemed far beyond the worth ofCandide by the brother. Later in the in the book the same situation arises, this time evenmore extreme. After Candide has bought freedom for the brother at an outrageous price,his is intent to marry Cunegonde is still met with rage. It is important when consideringthe presentation of nobility in Candide it is important to include Candide s journey toEldorado. Eldorado is a place far more perfect than anywhere else on earth. There were doors made only with silver and rooms paneled only with gold. It is interesting thatnobility even exists there. There are references to no nobles other than the king, who isportrayed as kind, witty, fair, and hospitable. Voltaire s inclusion of a king in this perfectland may be referring to the idea that the presence of nobility is not intrinsically a badthing, but that the existence of a form of nobility with the characteristics of Europeannobles is unacceptable. The Venetian nobleman Pococurante is jaded with the world. Hisnobility has granted him access to anything and everything he desires, including amagnificently bound Homer and shelves filled with English books and with these thingshe still has no joy in his life. His great vice is boredom. He has no need to apply himself,and he considers himself above everything he possesses in addition to those of lesser rank.Thus his extreme arrogance, most likely caused by his noble status and upbringing, hascaused his current existence of extreme boredom. Furthermore, in this state, he isaccomplishing nothing, most likely because he has nothing for which to strive. It could bethat this boredom, is the cause for much of the nobility s negative traits. Nobles needstrive for nothing, as they are provided for by those who live beneath them. This leavestime for idleness which accomplishes nothing and leaves the noble little room to developattributes such as wisdom s and tolerance.