Voltaire Essay Research Paper Matt Herring — страница 2

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of speech and he would defend that right(16). Like the other Enlightenment thinkers, Voltaire talked about how wonderful freedom of speech would be, and despised those that did not give it. He himself had been imprisoned because of something he said. Voltaire did not believe there were accidents, there has to be a reason for everything.(18) This goes along with the new way of thinking. Nothing happened “by accident”, everything had a reason or law which could explain it. He also says the same thing when he says there are no chances, everything has a cause.(19) Again, he displays his agreement with Enlightenment ideals. One of the main goals of these thinkers is progress, and to them that meant a break from harsh absolutism and the censorship of the church. “Liberty can only

be achieved when the last king is strangled by the entrails of the last priest”(23). Voltaire was not a democrat, but he felt King’s should act as they do in England, not France. The thinkers wanted an “enlightened absolutist”, not a sun king. Philosophes generally criticized the Christian Church and Voltaire was very venomous to the priest class. In saying that he didn’t want to be a martyr(15), Voltaire was a philosophe, who although they criticize people and suggest new ways, they are not revolutionaries, and do not want to die for their cause. What is the ideal situation in life? The question often arises, for what purpose was man placed upon the earth? It seems, in this satirical work, that Voltaire is focusing mainly on remodeling the mental limitations of man’s

outlook on life. It quickly becomes evident that the target of his satire, as the title suggests, is the concept of philosophical optimism. His exaggerated tales of the horrors which his characters endure, attack the idea that “everything always happens for the best.” These attacks on the pleasantness of life are accompanied by the absolute extremes of existence and government.