Saturday, December 3, 2016

A sharp wit

How does Voltaire like his fruit?
Voltaire may not make use of many puns such as the one above, but instead his humor is more subtle. In Hamlet, we saw direct puns, but Voltaire keeps with the theme of satire by hiding his comedy and therefore indirectly mocking his enemies and others instead of directly insulting them. Voltaire's situations seem so bizarre that they are unbelievable, but he does this to further his criticisms. For example, characters such as Cunegonde and Pangloss seem to come back to life after dying.


Dylan Bryan said...

I agree with Joseph that Voltaire uses a much different sense of humor in Candide than, as an example Shakespeare does in Hamlet. Shakespeare is very witty and many of Hamlets puns and other jokes are straight up and easy for the reader to interpret. Voltaire's humor in the form of satyr comes with criticism. Instead of being light-hearted like Hamlet, Voltaire mocks people in a way that criticizes their ideology. Joseph points out the example of Pangloss. In Hamlet, Hamlet mocks Polonius in a way that pokes fun at his lesser intelligence and the fact that he rambles on. In Candide, Voltaire makes Pangloss as a character seem somewhat delusional and rambling on in order to criticize Leibniz's philosophy. Shakespeare seemed to have just been trying to being comical while Voltaire had a point to his humor in putting down those opinions that he does not agree with.

Rickeia Coleman said...

Voltaire's humor was unexpected. It almost took away from the story in my view. The point of a satire is to seriously bring up issues that need reform and I didn't appreciate how Volatire used the story to fulfill personal vendettas by making fun of certain people. However, I do think he successfully incorporated the humor in the story in a way that makes sense. I do think Voltaire is a genius for the way in which he created the story, but as I said I didn't really like the piece all that much because of the times he poked fun at people for what I feel isn't a concrete reason.

Julia Scofield said...

I also think that some of his humor was inappropriate for the situation. While his pun on "Booty" was funny, it took away from the seriousness of the situation. In hamlet, humor was used to insult a character and to get the point across. In Voltaire humor was used to comedy, even if it was at inappropriate times.