Religion in Candide by Voltaire

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Religious changes were happening all over the world around the eighteenth century especially in early modern Europe which is depicted within Voltaire’s novel Candide, he depicts religion as a hypocritical view of life throughout his entire novel and uses terms within his book for the viewer to conclude his hypocritical view of religion such as deeming the religious figures as silly and prejudice. This can be inferred by Voltaire when he is telling the story about Jacques who is a Anabaptist and how his silliness causes his death on their journey to Lisbon when the sailor falls overboard and Jacques tries to help though he falls overboard as well, ‘but, in the course of his efforts, he was thrown into the sea in full view of the sailor, who let him perish without deigning even to look at him’ (32-33)

Voltaire describes Jacques as being too kind that it resulted in his death due to putting his religious views over humanity and keeping himself safe even though the sailor was a cruel man, this makes Jacques depicted as stupid and too focused on his religious views. Another example is when Cunegonde explains that though the Bulgars killed the rest of her family, she was merely raped and then captured by a captain, who sold her to a Jew named Don Isaachar, this depicts religious Jews as pathetic and capable of being terrible people who goes against their biblical views of life for sexual immortality and to show Voltaires hatred toward the Jewish religion. (36-38) Also, when Don Isaachar is later brought up again when everyone was at peace then he interrupted their supper to get his rights and unfold his love, Voltaire depicts it by saying Don interrupted them on the Sabbath day which makes a connection to Jewish beliefs but in a more “making fun of it” depiction(44-45).

Lastly, when Pangloss is discussing his internal disease, Pangloss mentioned a lineage filled with religious figures which shows that expectations of purity by religious figures were not fulfilled. Calvin, on the other hand, argued that performing sacraments such as Baptism, Communion and the Holy Supper in hopes of salvation were “frivolous and insignificant” making it seemed as pointless and stupid for religious people to believe and practice such “useless” ceremonial beliefs. In conclusion, Religion is one of the central targets of Voltaire’s novel Candide, religion is consistently depicted as corrupting and morally bankrupt.

Religious figures in Candide, such as the Protestant minister, the Jews and his fellow friend Jacques are often self-righteous and more focused on their religious understanding than understanding the principals of mankind although, we seem to get an understanding that Voltaire is more open to unorganized religions such not having one figure involved in the religious acts such as a priest, pope or head monk though his true understanding and reasoning behind hypocritical views of religion will be forever unknown and can only be inferred by the writer’s details.

Cite this paper

Religion in Candide by Voltaire. (2021, Oct 07). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/religion-in-candide-by-voltaire/

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