Chapter 15 of Voltaire's 'Candide' can be taken as a perfect example of the author's skill as an 18th Century Enlightenment writer. In this extract, there are several ways in which the structure, style, language and context reflect the novels principal motifs and themes and these features of the work combine to signify a few central ideas that Voltaire believed in. These elements include dialogue, rapid and clear sentences, unadorned but meticulously precise language, inciting incidents within the plot, irony and most importantly satire. In this essay, these elements will be explored and critically analyzed, with examples from the chosen chapter extract. .
The chapter deals with the death of the Jesuit baron and Candide's subsequent escape with Cacambo. Previously Candide and Cacambo fought on the side of the Paraguayan Jesuits in a battle revolting against the Spanish government. They end up saving the colonel who turns out to be Candide's love interest Cunégonde's brother, the baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh. What follows in Chapter 15 is that the baron's sudden refusal and expression of disgust at the idea of Candide marrying Cunégonde infuriates Candide, resulting in the stabbing of the baron. .
Voltaire is an author who handles character dialogue expertly. Through the Jesuit baron's reaction to Candide's expressed desire of marriage to his sister, Voltaire affords us insight into his critical view of humanity during the 18th Century. The baron reacts rapidly, without hesitation with "Vous, insolent!" which is a stark contrast with Candide's dream-like tone; "je comptais l'épouser, et je l'éspere encore". The baron's ignorance and vanity is highlighted effectively through his abrupt and aggressive in tone speech. Candide's naivety is also exemplified in his dialogue, he is totally unaware of the baron's opposing views and is caught off-guard.