Religion Comparison Between Candide & Crime and Punishment

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Janssen, M
October, 2012

Religion Comparison between Candide & Crime and Punishment
When developing various aspects of good and evil in literature, the role of religion can play a significant importance in the development of the characters as well as the author. The author, shaped by his or her own religious environment and personal beliefs, often chooses to express different characteristic of religious societal influence of the time both in a direct form and through more hidden messages. This paper addresses the influence of religion in two popular literary works, Candide and Crime and Punishment. The intent of this essay revolves around analysis in demonstrating how the authors use religion to influence both the surrounding circumstances of the characters as well as the characters themselves. Candide – The Satirical Approach to Religion

To understand the religious implications hidden throughout Candide, one needs to consider the religious position taken by its author. Voltaire (born François-Marie d'Arouet (1694–1778) strongly believed that religion, especially Catholicism, reflected the fanaticism of man and inflected superstition on its members and on society in general. His belief centered on natural science and the belief that one remains governed by natural laws. With virtually no respect for religion, Voltaire points towards the weaknesses of clergy and Christians in general throughout the book as well as illustrating prejudices of religion towards others outside the faith (Shank, 2010). Candide experiences several forms of ridicule and abuse due to his lack of conviction towards religion. When asked by the orator if he believed “the Pope to be Anti-Christ”, Candide did not deny or agree with the orator and chastised to leave the area. The wife of the orator also dumps garbage and probably feces on Candide for his remark of doubt to which Voltaire declares, “to what excess does religious zeal carry the ladies” (p.6). Voltaire...
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