The works of Voltaire and Swift are the philosophical works that contributed immensely to the inception and changes during the periods in the 18th century. In this article, there is a focus on the contribution of satirical works on the two intellects towards advancing the cultural, philosophical and religious ideals of enlightenment and the definition of the term “enlightenment”. Enlightenment refers to the philosophical movement of the 18th century that stressed on the application of thought to assess the doctrines accepted in the past, and those that came with the various humanitarian changes. For the enlightenment, thinkers were mandated in science or religion to investigate the untied minds.
The hunting for the right religion led to Deism; the other critical results of applying the reason were agnosticism, materialism, and disbelief. The enlightenment led to the rise of new secularized theories of psychology and ethics by such men as Voltaire, Swift, and some others. All these men contributed to an evolving critique of the powerful state and to sketching the outline of a greater form of the social organization centered on natural rights. More over Voltaire was against Judaism even though he supported acceptance of ethnicities and religions.
Enlightenment became a phenomenon in France after the Utrecht peace. The key proponents of the enlightenment were philosophies. These proponents constituted to the large number of mainly the intellectuals and writers that assessed the wickedness of the society and sought for the changes in line with the doctrines of thought or reason. The philosophies received the assistance from salonniers including the educated women often entertaining them. Despite the support, there was opposition from certain parties, which the philosophers’ satirized through wring articles like that of swift known as the dedication to prince posterity.
These women also sponsored their dialogues on new political ideologies, literary works and lastly artistic creations. During the year 1750, the educated women, their salons and philosophies made the French people yet again the intellectual center of Europe. Unlike other philosophies, Voltaire and Swift incarnated skepticism of that century and bent it towards the injustices of the old eras and traditional religion. Swift and Voltaire made a way for philosophical irony in science fiction particularly in the dream of Vignette Plato and in Micromegas. His (Voltaire’s) cutting pen put him into two imprisonments in Bastille. In the imprisonments, Voltaire was not tried neither given a chance to give his defense. His banishment to England for the period of three years was his own suggestion. His imprisonment came after he retorted to an abuse from Chevalier de of an aristocratic family towards the end of 1725.
On his come back to France, Voltaire kept championing the toleration. He made the Newtonian science famous; he fought for the mass media freedom and enthusiastically crusaded not in favor for the church. In such attempts, Voltaire turned out several historical plays, essays, novels, and even plays. This made his reputation a legend among kings and as well the knowledgeable commoners. This earned Voltaire many followers and imitators, but his only opponent in the spread of enlightenment was a set of books like the famous French encyclopedia. Swift in his part employed Parody satire, which was more complex than the simple satire, in which he mimicked a despised author and later have the victim say rough idiotic things.
The two philosophers had the intention of unmasking mischief underlying their societies. Instead of putting bold proclamations on the matter into use, they rather use irony in satirizing characters. In swift’s work the author involves the audience to help them perceive the in depth social realities, moral and political using irony. Voltaire points these issues by making stories interesting for the people to read on evils like corruption and hypocrisy.
The French enlightenment brought a strong effect of influence on the English reason. It led to many young and rich Englishmen visiting France to finish their education. Among the scholars that visited France were three top English thinkers: David Hume was considered to be a widely known English cynic; Adam Smith was a father of the new economy; and Jeremy Bentham was a founder of the utilitarian philosophy. The enlightenment also influenced on Englishwomen. Coterie and Moore kept a conservative mimicking of the French salons after the period of the 1770s. McCauley exerted a resolute effect on Mary Wollstonecraft, whose life was during the Enlightenment and the resurfacing English feminist movement. Wollstonecraft was born in a dependent family; she grew to become an achieving teacher and a professional writer.
In the social and cultural interpretation of the transformations that occurred in Europe, the approach scrutinizes the changes that happened in the European society and culture. The enlightenment is perceived as a process of changing the sociability and culture. The effects of satire on the cultural interpretation led to the increase of the public sphere in Europe. In the public sphere, the members held every reason to be powerful, since everything had been left free to criticism, and the participants rejected the secrecy of any degree. The enlightenment led to the common concern where all areas being initially the territory of the state and the religious authorities were made open to the decisive examination by the public sphere (Mitchell 35).