1755 Lisbon Earthquake and Voltaire

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  • Topic: Candide, 1755 Lisbon earthquake, Lisbon
  • Pages : 2 (630 words )
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  • Published : December 1, 2005
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In Candide, Voltaire uses satire to effectively express his ideas, as well as ridicule the political and social problems that swept over eighteenth century France and England. Candide also brings to light the reality of suffrage in human life all over the world, it also depicted many injustices that actually occurred in Voltaire's lifetime. One of the issues that Voltaire satirizes in Candide is Leibniz's belief that "if God is rational, then everything he does is grounded in reason. God does nothing be caprice." (Voltaire 19), basically Leibniz believed that everything that happens, happens for a reason by God. Leibniz described this as "the principle of sufficient reason." Voltaire believed that God had not arranged everything according to an ideal blueprint. He came to a conclusion after some catastrophic events that God was not as powerful as everyone thought he was, he was just not strong enough to prevent evil. One incident that pushed him away from Leibniz's theory for good was the untimely death of his mistress, Madame du Châtelet. She was a great admirer of Leibniz. By dying prematurely and for no good reason, she had contradicted her own optimism. Voltaire could not understand how in any way it was necessary and beneficial for Madame du Châtelet to die. Another event that solidified his stance was the great Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755. This earthquake claimed tens of thousands of lives. When Voltaire heard news of innocent children crushed beneath the rubble, he responded with a cry of protest against the belief that God directs everything in the world for the best. Leibniz's belief is ridiculed multiple times throughout Candide. In the story, Leibniz is referred as Pangloss who "taught metaphysico-theologico-cosmolo-boobology." (Voltaire 42) Just using this term Voltaire is making fun of Leibniz's all achieving philosophy. Also, referring Leibniz as the character Pangloss in the story is another way of insulting Leibniz. Pangloss means...
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