Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Dutch

Contrary to our discussion yesterday, I believe that Voltaire was specifically satirizing the Dutch. It cannot be a coincidence that Voltaire consecutively makes three Dutchmen look greedy: the ship's captain, the judge, and in a way Martin all appear to be greedy. All three are obsessed with money, and the common belief at the time was that the Dutch were indeed greedy. The Netherlands is one of the birthplaces of capitalism though, so it would make since that their revolutionary economy be perceived as fostering greed. It wouldn't be beneath Voltaire to aim such blows towards specific groups of people. He was, as we already know, an openly anti-Semitic and anti-Jesuit man.

1 comment:

Tyler Dean said...

Yes it could be that he was pointing a finger at the dutch, but i think that he was just satirizing merchants, in the case on Vanderdur, and judges, in the case of the Suriname judge, in general. At the time judges were often corrupt. Also, merchants were frequently very greedy as Voltaire described. His portrayal of them might also characterize society at his time as greedy. Throughout the book, Voltaire describes the greed in society and he obviously thought that that was one of the big negatives of society. I think it is kind of selfish and self-centered to see it as an affront to your people.