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Voltaire Essay, Research Paper

Matt Herring AP European History, Set 5

1/18/00 Extra Credit Assignment & # 8211 ; Voltaire

Francois Marie Arouet was born on November 21, 1694 in Paris. He was the boy of a notary. The name most people know Francois by is his pen name, Voltaire. Voltaire was a Gallic writer, philosopher, and apostle of free idea, he was besides one of the most influential figures during the Gallic age of Enlightenment. Voltaire received an first-class instruction at a Jesuit school called Louis-le-Grand. At age 16 he left school and became friends with Parisian blue bloods. The blue bloods admired his inventiveness, wit, and singular authorship ability. [ Voltaire Foundation, Oxford ]

In 1717 Voltaire was arrested for composing a series of satirical poetries roasting the Gallic authorities. He was imprisoned in the ill-famed Gallic prison, the Bastille. During imprisonment he adopted the name Voltaire. He used this pen name because he could non be blamed for composing insurgent literature if the authorities could non place the writer. During his 11 months in prison he wrote his first major drama. The drama was named Oedipe, which achieved great success in 1718. Ironically, merely hebdomads out of prison Voltaire got in an statement with a Lord and was arrested. He was given two options, imprisonment or expatriate. So, from 1726 to 1729 Voltaire was exiled to England. While in England he learned of the doctrines of John Locke and the thoughts of Sir Isaac Newton. He absorbed the British autonomies, free thought, and literature. Still unwelcome in his fatherland, Paris, Voltaire lived at Cirey in Lorraine from 1734 to 1744 with Madame du Chatelet. After 1744 they moved to Versailles, Sceaux, and Luneville. Madame du Chatelet died during childbearing in 1749. After the decease of Madame du Chatelet Voltaire became the esteemed invitee of Fredrick the Great at Potsdam. However, increasing bitterness led to their disconnected separation in 1753. ( Grolier, pg.1 ) After three old ages of rolling around Europe Voltaire went to populate on the French-Swiss boundary line, in a town called Ferney. Ferney shortly became the rational capital of Europe. During his old ages in Ferney, Voltaire produced many books, dramas, booklets, and letters. Many of these plants spoke against spiritual intolerance and persecution. Voltaire remained in Ferney until his exultant return to Paris. Voltaire was 83 at the clip of his return. The exhilaration of his trip was excessively much for him and he died in Paris. He died May 30, 1778. Voltaire was denied burial in church land because of his unfavorable judgment of the church. He was eventually buried in an abbey in Champagne. In 1791 his remains were transferred to his concluding resting-place at the Pantheon in Paris. ( Encyclopedia Americana, pg.228 ) He made his manner to fame by composing: Oedipe, ( 1718 ) his first narrative and Zaire, ( 1732 ) one of his best calamities. Voltaire besides wrote historical plants such as: History of Charles XII ( 1

731 ) , Age of Louis XIV ( 1751 ) and Essay on Manners ( 1753-56 ) . Most significantly Voltaire was, and remains, celebrated as a philosopher and a combatant for reform. ( Grolier, pg2 ) Voltaire was the leader, main organiser, and propagandist of the reformer group called philosophes. ( Microsoft Encarta, pg2 ) He worked with Diderot and d Holbach, celebrated encyclopaedists, on The Encyclopedia.

During the clip of the enlightenment, the philosophes were people who brought & # 8220 ; the visible radiation of cognition to their nescient chap animals & # 8221 ; ( McKay, 601 ) . The prevailing ideals of these minds were advancement, ground, and the hunt for natural jurisprudence. Francois Marie Arouet, or Voltaire was doubtless the most celebrated. One of the more interesting of the enlightenment figures, Voltaire used humor and clever sarcasm to convey his messages. In some instances, he shared the same position as other philosophes, but in others his sentiment was really different.

Voltaire said that it didn & # 8217 ; t count what people said, he believed they had freedom of address and he would support that right ( 16 ) . Like the other Enlightenment minds, Voltaire talked about how fantastic freedom of address would be, and despised those that did non give it. He himself had been imprisoned because of something he said. Voltaire did non believe there were accidents, there has to be a ground for everything. ( 18 ) This goes along with the new manner of thought. Nothing happened & # 8220 ; by accident & # 8221 ; , everything had a ground or jurisprudence which could explicate it. He besides says the same thing when he says there are no opportunities, everything has a cause. ( 19 ) Again, he displays his understanding with Enlightenment ideals. One of the chief ends of these minds is progress, and to them that meant a interruption from rough tyranny and the censoring of the church. & # 8220 ; Liberty can merely be achieved when the last male monarch is strangled by the visceras of the last priest & # 8221 ; ( 23 ) . Voltaire was non a Democrat, but he felt King & # 8217 ; s should move as they do in England, non France. The minds wanted an & # 8220 ; enlightened absolutist & # 8221 ; , non a Sun male monarch. Philosophes by and large criticized the Christian Church and Voltaire was really deadly to the priest category. In stating that he didn & # 8217 ; t want to be a sufferer ( 15 ) , Voltaire was a philosophe, who although they criticize people and suggest new ways, they are non revolutionists, and do non desire to decease for their cause.

What is the ideal state of affairs in life? The inquiry frequently arises, for what intent was adult male placed upon the Earth? It seems, in this satirical work, that Voltaire is concentrating chiefly on reconstructing the mental restrictions of adult male & # 8217 ; s mentality on life. It rapidly becomes apparent that the mark of his sarcasm, as the rubric suggests, is the construct of philosophical optimism. His overdone narratives of the horrors which his characters endure, attack the thought that & # 8220 ; everything ever happens for the best. & # 8221 ; These onslaughts on the pleasantness of life are accompanied by the absolute extremes of being and authorities.

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