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Compare the satire in Gulliver's Travels & Candide

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Topics: Satire, Candide
Compare the satire in Gulliver's Travels & Candide

Satire means irony. People use satire to expose folly or vice. Interestingly, in Voltaire's Candide and Swift's Gulliver's Travels, they both use satire to express their profound observations. They have some similarities; such as they both criticize the human weakness. They also have many differences between them. In "Candide", Voltarie offers sad themes by jokes and criticism. The story itself presents a distinctive outlook on life through author's satiric tone. Candide's experiences reveal to us that the world is a terrible place. Human beings are born to suffer in this world. On the other hand, Swift has continuously criticized the human race. He has never mentioned one of the good qualities of the human beings. Compare to the Houyhnhnm ? a horse society that the main character Gulliver admires the most, Swift satirizes the bad characters and behaviors of the human beings.

In "Candide", Voltaire presents a story of his innocent, naïve hero Candide's adventure life. By describing how Candid travels around the world and encounters different circumstances, Voltaire uses his critical tone to reveal to us that the world is a cruel place. Candide is an optimism man. He always remembers his teacher Pangloss's doctrines "cause and effect"(P.25) and "everything was for the best in this world" (P.28). Contract to this theme, Candid has gone through so many misfortune experiences. At the beginning of his adventure, Candide is thrown out from the castle when found kissing the baron's daughter, Cunegonde. On his journey, he faces many misfortunes. He is tortured during army training. He has met his teacher, Pangloss several times. The first time, Pangloss looks like a beggar and his health is in devastated condition. (P.29) The second time, Pangloss tells Candide that he is almost hanged, and then dissect, then beaten. Ironically Pangloss still believes that everything is for the best in the world. Later Candide reunites with Cunegonde. An older woman with Cunegonde tells them her sad story. At the end of their conversation, the older woman tells them "prevail upon each passenger to tell his story, and if there is one of them all that has not cursed his existence many times, and said to himself over and over again that he was the most wretched of mortals, I give you leave to throw me head-foremost into the sea" (P.41). This illustrates the author's position that world is a cruel place and men are born to suffer. As the story continues, Cunegonde is taken away from Candide again. Candide has gained his wealth a short time. A few years later, he finds his beloved Cunegonde, but now she is fat and ugly. His wealth is all gone. Throughout Candide's adventure, we see how life is full of struggles. Voltaire uses ironic tone to describe Candide's life. Indeed, Voltaire criticizes Pangloss's ridiculous theme that Candide carries with him all the time. Contrast to "world is for the best", life is filled with difficulties, danger and suffer.

In "Gulliver's travel", Swift describes that a human's society is fill of disease, misfortune, deceive and all the bad things in the world though Gulliver's travel experience. After Gulliver comes to a strange land, he first sees a kind of disgusting animal "yahoo". Yahoo is one kind of brutal animal in the Houyhnhnm's world. It is the animal that consists of disease, cheat. Compare with the rational being Houyhnhnm, yahoos are so ugly not only in their appearance, but also in their behavior and mind. In fact, every contents of yahoo are disgusting. Later, Gulliver gradually finds out that he is a yahoo. He disappointed about this finding. He refuses to accept the truth that he is a yahoo.

Swift uses his tone of mockery to explain how the human and yahoo have in common. But human such as Gulliver even has more disadvantage than yahoo. Gulliver describes to his master the reason of war in human's world, "our neighbors want the things which we have, or have the things which we want; and we both fight, till they take ours or give us theirs"(P.305). His master tells him how yahoos behaves "you throw among five yahoos as much food as would be sufficient for fifty, they will, instead of eating peaceably, fall together by the ears" (P.313). This explains that human and yahoos have the same nature. They are both greedy and fight for no reason. Yahoos are filthy, irrational figures. Gulliver hates them from the first time he meets them. Ironically later he finds out that human beings are even worse than them. Because his master reminds him that Gulliver differed from yahoos for the worse (P.303). As a human, Gulliver's nails were of no use either to his fore or hinder-feet and he was not able to feet himself, without lifting his fore-feet to his mouth (P.303). Gulliver fells so shame that he is one of the yahoos. By Gulliver's experiences, Swift is satirizing the society in which Gulliver comes from. Swift shows the weakness and ugliness of the human race.

Voltaire's "Candide" and Swift's "Gulliver's Travel" are two successful novels. They have something in common because two authors use stair to criticize the society in which they live. Their differences are also significant. Voltaire emphasizes the life that is fill with struggle. More importantly, human's experience is suffering. On the other hand, Swift reveals the human weakness. He illustrates his main theme that he dislikes his world. Stair, joke and criticism make these two novels more interesting. It helps two authors emphasize their points.

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