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Corruption in Candide

  • Date Submitted: 11/03/2013 07:19 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 45.1 
  • Words: 1652
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Use of Irony in Candide to Demonstrate Problems in 18th Century Society
In Candide, Voltaire writes about pervasive problems within his society, but he does not tackle them with egregious claims or bold indictments. He instead uses striking irony in order to poke fun at the problems while still bringing attention to them. Voltaire satirizes everything from organized religion to the upper class to military groups, creating ridiculous situations with ridiculous characters that function to keep the reader both informed and entertained. He uses overt satirical representations and examples in conjunction with indirect implications in order to create layers of mockery in order to attack the problems his society faces. Armed with these different types irony, Voltaire provokes the reader into realizing the hypocrisy and corruption of the clergy, the bourgeoisie and the military, specifically the high ranking members of those organizations, and clearly demonstrates the enduring flaws within society.
Candide’s journey leads him through many parts of the world, but one thing seems to follow him no matter where he goes: war. When he first sets out on his journey, he is unwittingly recruited to the Bulgarian army after dining with soldiers. Candide doesn’t realize until it is too late that the men he is dealing with are corrupt and uncaring, and that he has effectively trapped himself in a lifetime of servitude under the Bulgarian military forces. He is trained by the army, and is taught to never step out of line, literally, as he is punished for simply going on a walk: “[Candide] took it into his head to take a walk, and he marched straight forward, conceiving it to be a privilege of the human species, as well as of the brute creation, to make use of their legs how and when they pleased. He had not gone above two leagues when he was overtaken …. A courtmartial sat upon [Candide], and he was asked which he liked better, to run the gauntlet six and thirty times through the...

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