The beginning of the 17th century marked many changes for Europe. These changes were both physical and philosophical in nature.Common citizens were tired of being abused, mistreated and most of all labeled as peasants and commoners by the aristocracy.They were fed up with the hypocrisy of the church and the abuse of power by its leaders in the name of God.One man stood tall above the rest.
Francois Marie Arouet was born November 21, 1694 to a middle class family in Paris.At that time, Louis the XIV was king of France and the overwhelming majority lived in harsh conditions.The aristocracy of France ruled with an iron fist and poverty was widespread throughout the land.Francois attended the College Louis le Grand, where he got his Jesuit education.
His deep-rooted satirical views were prevalent even as a child.After college, Francois worked as a secretary for the French Ambassador to Holland, but left that position to pursue his writing career.Francois' writings soon became famous in France.His quick tongue and fast pen soon got him into trouble with the French government and he got exiled to Sully.Using his fame, Voltaire quickly got those in power to allow him back into France.Shortly after he returned he was blamed for a piece of writing that opposed the government, which sent him to prison.While in prison, Francois assumed the pen name "Voltaire" and wrote hisfirst play, "Oedipe".
Shortly after is release, the 24-year-old Voltaire's Oedipe was produced in Paris and became an instant success.After being exiled to England, Voltaire became familiar with the English language and in 1979, published Candide.Candide was by far his most famous work.In it he satirizes and criticizes Leibnizian optimism, aristocratic snobbery, the Protestant and Catholic Church and human nature. Leibniz, a German philosopher and mathematician of Voltaire’s time, developed the idea that the wor..