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Literary Devices used in Satire by Mind Map: Literary Devices
used in Satire
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Literary Devices used in Satire


A casual reference to anything in the literary, often without full identification

"old woman" - throughout the story, Voltaire constantly makes connections and sayings about this woman, and gives her lines. However, he never gives her a full identification - example: he doesn't give her a name, the fact that as people get order (especially women), they lose role in a society and thus lose their existence in many things

"that wretched Jesuit" - page 84, Candide is full of sorrow due to the two rowers that represent his past fellows quite exactly, and makes a connection of those two unfortunate ones to the Jesuit who was introduced to our story in a quite beginning chapter. This connection made by Candide is rather simple (unfortunate -> unfortunate), and is made without full description, and is very casual - which is why it is an allusion, trying to get to the point that there are so many unfortunate ones in this so called "best of all possible worlds" that this world has worsened to the point where unfortunate ones no longer have a lot of significance <- this is why the wretched Jesuit was such a casual reference, and without neither a lot of identification nor description

Hyperbole (exaggeration)

obvious and intentional exaggeration of something

how the government pays for everything - page 47, to show what a real "best of all possible worlds" is like, and to prove that the normal world is not the best, the government paying for everything is just not realistic, and therefore is exaggeration; the fact that Elderado has no way in is also exaggeration, and finally the scientists working together to build what is impossible to build in such short notice is also exaggeration

the description of Candide becoming a Bulgar - page 6, it is just not possible for a human being to go through that much suffering - flogged by entire regiment thirty six times or receive twelve lead bullets in a school simultaneously - and survive. Therefore this is an exaggeration intended to horrify the audience and so it is also a hyperbole, Voltaire, through this harsh, violent, and not survival description wanted to expose the audience how bad of a world (and a cruel one) their world at the time was


using two words that go against each other in meaning

"a good Anabaptist" - page 9, Anabaptists are those who refused to be baptized (during the time period where everyone baptists), and so they would be regarded as bad, excommunicated people <- not "good" as stated here by Voltaire, this is criticizing how people of the society look the outside of a person (whether rich or not, baptized or not, etc.) not the real quality and/or trait of the person

"a poor scholar" - page 55, Scholars at this time period were highly educated and thus of some wealth, and for these people with quite high rank, good education, and some wealth to start with to be poor is an example of oxymoron, Voltaire uses this to show that in this so called "best of all possible wolrds", those with high position in jobs aren't always in a favorible position - for they might be poor like this one

Irony (sarcasm)

a statement where the actual meaning differs sharply from the meaning that the word is supposed to express

prince who owns very few dishes - page 83, princes are those of the royal family, and this means that they are rich; this prince apparently doesn't have a lot of dishes, and if he does not have a lot of something as common as dishes, what kind of prince is he? so this is irony since the term prince does not match the common term that we know of, Voltaire was informing the readers of how instable a social structure was. By showing this example of a prince not having a lot of dishes, it proves his point that social structure was very instable, and a man of high rank such as a prince can be very poor

while he was offering a priori proofs of this - page 13, Voltaire he criticizes philosophers and even commoners who are just concentrated in a single thing that they don't care about anything else until they accomplish their goal, this is ironic because no normal person would be proving a proof while their ship is falling apart and people are dying


imitates a serious literary work in order to make fun of it by changing the words while keeping the same format/style of the original

This is all for the best, for if there is a volcano beneath Lisbon, then it cannot be anywhere else; for it is impossible for things to be elsewhere then where they are. For all is well - page 15, parody of Pangloss's theory of how we have pants so we have legs, ridicules the idea of "all is for the best" by using it when there is almost no hope

Candide falls in love for a short time with the Marquise - page 63, this is a parody of many different scenes where Candide encounters women and the women tries to take Candide's goods by trickery, Voltaire used this to show how easy it is for women to trick men and earn money from it


to present weaker than reality

the goods of Eldorado - page 42, it's an understatement because the descriptions given on this magical land of Eldorado aren't as decorative enough as the violent battles (and I am quite sure that these two both have the significance to be wrote with equal descriptions), purpose of this is to leave a stronger impression of violence this world has towards the readers compared to the goods of this world

the old women's story - page 26, her whole story is presented weaker, but seems to still have made a strong impression in the readers' heads of how cruel the world was (and barbaric) this is an understatement because not all the details are written out, and the women skips some procedures of certain parts, like when the guards eat one of the singers, Voltaire's main goal here was to show the real human nature, and how uncivilized, evil, greedy, and sometimes thoughtless they are <- again proving this isn't the best of all possible worlds