Satirizing Nonsense

Topics: Candide, Irony, Voltaire Pages: 2 (653 words) Published: May 6, 2012
Satirizing Nonsense
In Voltaire’s Bildungsroman (a novel in which the character’s experiences lead to a new philosophy), Candide, written in 1759, he satirizes the paradigm that this is the best of all possible worlds. Voltaire does not agree with this paradigm and he goes on to satirize naïve stoical optimism and religion. Throughout his life, Voltaire did not agree with religion or the government. In fact, he was sent to prison in Bastille for writing a satire about the French government. By using verbal and situational irony, as well as overstatement, Voltaire successfully satirizes religion, social customs, and snobbery.

In the first paragraph of chapter 15, the Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh explains how he managed to survive the attack by the Bulgars. After Cunegonde gets raped and his parents are killed, he is saved by a Jesuit. The Reverend Father Croust gives the baron the care that he needs to survive. Then the baron goes on to tell Candide about how he was “very handsome” and that the Reverend “took a great liking” to him, thus implying a homosexual relationship between himself and the Reverend Father Croust (56). Voltaire is satirizing religion and the hypocrisy of clergymen by using situational irony. This is an example of situational irony because being a priest while also having a gay relationship goes against what the bible says is right. It has been said that Voltaire actually knew a French priest by the name of Croust who was actually a homosexual.

After Candide and the baron have caught up, Candide tells him that he intends to marry the fair Cunegonde, who is not far from where the two men are. When the baron hears this he is immediately outraged by the mere thought of it shouting at Candide, “How impudent of you even to think of marrying my sister, who has seventy-two generations of nobility behind her! You ought to be ashamed of yourself for daring to mention such an audacious scheme to me!” the baron drags in Candide’s mere seventy-one...
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