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Voltaires Candide is a satire of many of the ideas that controlled the lives of men during the Enlightenment Though it is thought to be one of the Enlightenments greatest texts it establishes that the Enlightenment was not concrete Using unique and interesting characters Voltaire personified and criticized many social problems of the day including the Clergy and organized religion the Nobility and Philosophy The Enlightenment climaxing in the eighteenth century caused many to criticize social conditions and traditions Enlightenment philosophers directed much of their attention toward the aristocracy and the church Voltaire used Candide to illustrate the foremost matters of the Enlightenment as well as criticize the movement itself It criticizes the philosophy that rational thought can stop the pervasiveness of human evil In Candide Voltaire illustrates that society can and should be changed for the better Beginning in Chapter I Voltaires satire mocks the pretentiousness of the nobility Candides benefactor and uncle the Baron of Thunder-ten-trockh is wasteful and served by others His only justification for his status is birth This character criticizes the audacity and arrogance of the nobility as well as the thought that one is anointed with nobility upon being born In addition Candides own mother the Barons sister refuses to marry Candides father because he could not prove a more noble lineage than she Voltaire uses her character to mock a social arrangement that uses an artificial hierarchy There is no difference between common and noble Pangloss is a parody of philosophers who debate but cause no real social change His character is a satire of metaphysics which was forgotten to seek the study of knowledge He talks about the ways of the world but knows little because of his fishbowl atmosphere within the castle Voltaire uses Pangloss to criticize those philosophers who do not base their arguments on knowledge and in turn do not help society Voltaire commonly expresses his theory that thought
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