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  • Satire
  • Human nature
  • The problem of evil


The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1755_Lisbon_earthquake

Leibniz: Theodicy  as a wiki page

Leibniz: Theodicy as a Word document

Full text (not the translation in your book)



SATIRE: An attack on or criticism of any stupidity or vice in the form of scathing humor, or a critique of what the author sees as dangerous religious, political, moral, or social standards. Satire became an especially popular technique used during the Enlightenment, in which it was believed that an artist could correct folly by using art as a mirror to reflect society. When people viewed the satire and saw their faults magnified in a distorted reflection, they could see how ridiculous their behavior was and then correct that tendency in themselves. The tradition of satire continues today. Popular cartoons such as The Simpsons and televised comedies like The Daily Show make use of it in modern media. Conventionally, formal satire involves a direct, first-person-address, either to the audience or to a listener mentioned within the work. An example of formal satire is Alexander Pope's Moral Essays. Indirect satire conventionally employs the form of a fictional narrative--such as Byron's Don Juan or Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Ridicule, irony, exaggeration, and similar tools are almost always used in satire. Horatian satire tends to focus lightly on laughter and ridicule, but it maintains a playful tone. Generally, the tone is sympathetic and good humored, somewhat tolerant of imperfection and folly even while expressing amusement at it. The name comes from the Roman poet Horace (65-8 BCE), who preferred to ridicule human folly in general rather than condemn specific persons. In contrast, Juvenalian satire also uses withering invective, insults, and a slashing attack. The name comes from the Roman poet Juvenal (60-140 CE), who frequently employed the device, but the label is applied to British writers such as Swift and Pope as well.



Horatian Satire


He describes his sufferings from the loquacity of an impertinent fellow. I was accidentally going along the Via Sacra, meditating on some trifle or other, as is my custom, and totally intent upon it. A certain person, known to me by name only, runs up; and, having seized my hand, “How do you do, my dearest fellow?” “Tolerably well,” say I, “as times go; and I wish you every thing you can desire.” When he still followed me; “Would you any thing?” said I to him. But, “You know me,” says he: “I am a man of learning.” “Upon that account,” says I: “you will have more of my esteem.” Wanting sadly to get away from him, sometimes I walked on apace, now and then I stopped, and I whispered something to my boy. When the sweat ran down to the bottom of my ankles. O, said I to myself, Bolanus, how happy were you in a head-piece! Meanwhile he kept prating on any thing that came uppermost, praised the streets, the city; and, when I made him no answer; “You want terribly,” said he, “to get away; I perceived it long ago; but you effect nothing. I shall still stick close to you; I shall follow you hence: Where are you at present bound for?" "There is no need for your being carried so much about: I want to see a person, who is unknown to you: he lives a great way off across the Tiber, just by Caesar’s gardens.” “I have nothing to do, and I am not lazy; I will attend you thither.” I hang down my ears like an ass of surly disposition, when a heavier load than ordinary is put upon his back. He begins again: “If I am tolerably acquainted with myself, you will not esteem Viscus or Varius as a friend, more than me; for who can write more verses, or in a shorter time than I? Who can move his limbs with softer grace [in the dance]? And then I sing, so that even Hermogenes may envy.”

Here there was an opportunity of interrupting him. “Have you a mother, [or any] relations that are interested in your welfare?” “Not one have I; I have buried them all.” “Happy they! now I remain. Dispatch me: for the fatal moment is at hand, which an old Sabine sorceress, having shaken her divining urn, foretold when I was a boy; ’This child, neither shall cruel poison, nor the hostile sword, nor pleurisy, nor cough, nor the crippling gout destroy: a babbler shall one day demolish him; if he be wise, let him avoid talkative people, as soon as he comes to man’s estate.’”

One fourth of the day being now passed, we came to Vesta’s temple; and, as good luck would have it, he was obliged to appear to his recognizance; which unless he did, he must have lost his cause. “If you love me,” said he, “step in here a little.” “May I die! if I be either able to stand it out, or have any knowledge of the civil laws: and besides, I am in a hurry, you know whither.” “I am in doubt what I shall do,” said he; “whether desert you or my cause.” “Me, I beg of you.” “I will not do it,” said he; and began to take the lead of me. I (as it is difficult to contend with one’s master) follow him. “How stands it with Maecenas and you?” Thus he begins his prate again. “He is one of few intimates, and of a very wise way of thinking. No man ever made use of opportunity with more cleverness. You should have a powerful assistant, who could play an underpart, if you were disposed to recommend this man; may I perish, if you should not supplant all the rest!” “We do not live there in the manner you imagine; there is not a house that is freer or more remote from evils of this nature. It is never of any disservice to me, that any particular person is wealthier or a better scholar than I am: every individual has his proper place.” “You tell me a marvelous thing, scarcely credible.” “But it is even so.” “You the more inflame my desires to be near his person.” “You need only be inclined to it: such is your merit, you will accomplish it: and he is capable of being won; and on that account the first access to him he makes difficult.” “I will not be wanting to myself: I will corrupt his servants with presents; if I am excluded to-day, I will not desist; I will seek opportunities; I will meet him in the public streets; I will wait upon him home. Life allows nothing to mortals without great labor.” While he was running on at this rate, lo! Fuscus Aristius comes up, a dear friend of mine, and one who knows the fellow well. We make a stop. “Whence come you? whither are you going?” he asks and answers. I began to twitch him [by the elbow], and to take hold of his arms [that were affectedly] passive, nodding and distorting my eyes, that he might rescue me. Cruelly arch he laughs, and pretends not to take the hint: anger galled my liver. "Certainly,” [said I, “Fuscus,] you said that you wanted to communicate something to me in private.” “I remember it very well; but will tell it you at a better opportunity: to-day is the thirtieth sabbath. Would you affront the circumcised Jews?” I reply, “I have no scruple [on that account].” “But I have: I am something weaker, one of the multitude. You must forgive me: I will speak with you on another occasion.” And has this sun arisen so disastrous upon me! The wicked rogue runs away, and leaves me under the knife. But by luck his adversary met him: and, "Whither are you going, you infamous fellow?” roars he with a loud voice: and, “Do you witness the arrest?” I assent. He hurries him into court: there is a great clamor on both sides, a mob from all parts. Thus Apollo preserved me.


Juvenalian Satire

Satire VI, "The Ways of Women"

from Fordham University




If Eldorado is the perfect place, why do Candide and Cacambo choose to leave?

How do you make sense of a world where we are miserable when we are content?



by Edgar Allan Poe

The irony of the poem is subtle. Read the last stanza carefully.


Edgar Allan Poe: El Dorado


Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of El Dorado.
But he grew old --
This knight so bold --
And -- o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like El Dorado.
And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow --
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be --
This land of El Dorado?"
"Over the Mountains
 Of the Moon,
 Down the Valley of the Shadow,
 Ride, boldly ride,"
 The shade replied --
 "If you seek for El Dorado."


Essay Prompt

Read the excerpt from W.t. Stace's "Man Against Darkness," then write a well-planned, well-written essay in response to the question below: 


Would either Swift, as evidenced by Book 4 of Gulliver's Travels, or Voltaire, as evidenced by Candide, agree with Stace's arguments about human nature and our status in the universe? Support your thesis with evidence from the both the essay and the work you choose to treat.


  • Length: 500-750 words
  • Scoring: PA Rubric / 20
    • Focus:
      • Clear and insightful thesis that responds to the prompt
      • supporting paragraphs relevant to thesis
    • Content:
      • Appropriate textual evidence supports and proves the thesis.
      • The essay offers an analysis, not a description. It shows how the evidence supports the thesis.
    • Organization:
      • The essay presents the thesis in the introduction.
      • The essay follows a rational, logical plan that is easy to follow. 
      • Individual paragraphs are organized. 
      • The essay's conclusion is synthetic. 
    • Style:
      • The essay is written in a plain, clear style devoid of vagueness.
      • Every sentence contains an athletic, meaning-laden subject and verb. 
    • Conventions:
      • The essay follows the rules of standard English for
        • punctuation
        • capitalization
        • agreement of subjects and verbs and pronouns and antecedents
        • usage











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