Literary Devices used in Satire
by Marie Kim
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Literary Devices used in Satire
a reference to an event, person,
page 9"mankind have a little corrupted nature, for they were not born wolves, and they have
become wolves; God has given them neither cannon of four-and-twenty pounders, nor
bayonets; and yet they have made cannon and bayonets to destroy one another." This is an
allusion because it makes a reference to the biblical figure, god. Voltaire is satirizing warfare
and how humans are born innocent but turn evil by making weapons to kill each other off.
page 8 "it was a thing unavoidable, a necessary ingredient in the best of
worlds; for if Columbus had not caught in an island in America this disease,
which contaminates the source of generation, and frequently impedes
propagation itself, and is evidently opposed to the great end of nature, we
should have had neither chocolate nor cochineal." This is an allusion because
it makes a reference to Columbus(person). Voltaire used allusion to satire
Pangloss's theory on how the world is the best of worlds. Pangloss said that
he caught a disease from the Americas and he justified his disease by saying
that chocolate and cochineal would not be here if Columbus had not
discovered America. This is clearly a distorted way of reasoning.
page 11 "Alas!" said he to Pangloss, "get me a little wine and oil; I am dying" This would be a perfect
hyperbole for Candide was never exactly at the brink of dying but he is just saying this to get Pangloss
to get him win and oil. Voltaire is satirizing human laziness.
page 43 "I am now one hundred
and seventy-two years old"
This is a hyperbole because it
was impossible for people of
that age to live that long. The
world record of the longest
living person in the world now
is around 122 and this person
exceeds that person. He is
exaggerating how old he is to
make people think that he is
wise, for back then people
thought that wisdom came with
when contradictory words
appear side by side
Page 9 "do you believe that the
Pope is Anti-Christian?" This
sentence is clearly oxymoron by
using the Pope, which is a figure of
religion and devotion to god and
using the word "Anti-Christian"
together. Voltaire is again
satirizing religion by poking fun at
the pope by questioning if the
pope is anti-christian or not.
Page 74 "Some pleasure in
having no pleasure." This is an
oxymoron because two things
that are the opposite are placed
next to each other to make a
phrase. Voltaire is satirizing the
greed of human nature for it is
saying that a little pleasure is
no pleasure at all which
translates into "Only big
pleasure is having pleasure."
Situation or events that convey a reality
different from what it appears to be from the
Page 51 "'Madam, you have seventy-two years of nobility, but not one penny. You now
have the chance to become the wife of a man who's the greatest lord in South America
and has a very handsome mustache." This is an irony because it seems as if Cunegonde
loves Candide for love, however in this sentence it is showing that she is not ready to
marry a man for love, but rather money. Voltaire is satirizing human greed.
page 24 "I am the daughter of
Pope Urdan X, and Princess of
Palestrina" This is irony since
Popes are not supposed to
have children since they were
supposed to keep their
Chasity. Voltaire is satirizing
religion and how it is corrupt.
Copying a particular event, person, book, etc
and intentionally making differences in the
original to make a different meaning
John the Anabaptist
page 10 John the Anabaptist, the name is a parody of the
figure, John the Baptist. Voltaire took the figure John the
baptist and changed the meaning by turning him into a
Anabaptist which is clearly a parody. Voltaire probably did
this to satirize religion as he kills John off.
page 11 "For." said he, "all that is is for the best." Voltaire is parodying
Gottfried Leibniz's theory of the world being the best of all possible
worlds. He satires the theory by using Pangloss to convey the message
and killing him, telling us that clearly, the theory is not true.
something look less
Page 23"Cunegounde almost broke out
laughing, finding the good woman very
amusing, for pretending to have been as
unfortunate as him" This is an
understatement because Cunegoude is
making the old woman's story look less
important or less unfortunate than
her's. This is satirizing ignorance, for
Cunegoude does not even know the old
woman's name or story and she is
making fun of it.
page 38 “Alas!” replied Candide, “I remember to have heard Master
Pangloss say, that formerly such accidents used to happen; that these
mixtures were productive of Centaurs, Fauns, and Satyrs; and that
many of the ancients had seen such monsters, but I looked upon the
whole as fabulous.” This is understatement because Candide heard this
story before, however he did not heed this advice/story when he killed
lovers of the two girls, moreover his form of speech puts down or
lowers this story. This is satirizing human ignorance.