Voltaire uses literary techniques such as satire and critique to demonstrate the cruelty and folly of humanity. He focuses on serious topics that include sexism, and reduces it to absurdity so that it is comical to the audience. Despite the fact that Voltaire constantly over- exaggerates this subject, he does not trying to reinforce them. Some might say Voltaire portrays women as objects of desire and is capitalizing on the subject but to get his point across using satire, some people will have to get offended. In Candide, Voltaire is critiquing and satirizing sexism. An example of how sexism and rape were satirized and critiqued in chapter 11 on pg 40 “I was beauty and grace itself, and I was a virgin. I was not so for long; that flower that had been reserved for the handsome Prince of Massa-Carrara was ravished from me by the pirate captain. Indeed My Lady the Princess of Palastrina and I had to be very strong to endure all we underwent until we arrived in Morocco. But let’s get on; these things are so common that they are not worth speaking of.” Rape is a very sensitive subject. The old woman talked about the incident in a nonchalant tone and said that it was so common that it was not worth talking about. Voltaire did this to satirize what were becoming society’s “normal” views on such brutal acts. He was letting us know that rape was such a frequent thing in the time period in which he lived, that it was being viewed by society as “normal “. In order to understand the book properly, it is important to recognize that Voltaire was attempting to portray the problems within society such as sexism, by using satire to help the people this era realize what they were doing was wrong.
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