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Le 1er Novembre , un séisme de magnitude à sur l'échelle de Richter détruit quatre-vingts cinq pour cent de Lisbonne. Le monde européen est .
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Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne (French Edition)

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Jesuit-educated, he began writing clever verses by the age of He launched a lifelong, successful playwriting career in , interrupted by imprisonment in the Bastille. Due to the prevalence of evil, he argued, there could not possibly exist a benevolent, loving deity who intervened in human affairs to reward the virtuous and punish the guilty. He asserted instead that the disaster revealed the abject and ignorant nature of humankind. For Voltaire, people might well hope for a happier state, but to expect more was contrary to reason. Like many of Voltaire's poems, Lisbonne consists entirely of rhyming couplets in continual progression; there are no stanzas dividing the lines.


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Voltaire also included footnotes elucidating such terms as the universal chain and man's nature. Unlike the lighthearted satire of Candide , the Lisbonne poem strikes a pitying, dark, and solemn tone. In his preface, Voltaire makes several objections to philosphical optimism:. Arguing by reductio ad absurdum , Voltaire elaborates on the inherent contradiction in the dictum what is, is right.

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For if this were true, then human nature would not be fallen and salvation would be unnecessary. Voltaire shows his admiration of both Bayle, who was a skeptic, and Locke , who was an empiricist. In his footnotes, Voltaire argues the self-evidence of humankind's epistemological shortcomings, since the human mind derives all knowledge from experience, which cannot give us insight into what preceded it, nor what follows it, nor what presently supports it.

In the poem itself, grieving for the misery created by the earthquake and questioning whether a just and compassionate God would seek to punish sins through such cruelty, Voltaire argued that the all-powerful God Leibniz and Pope hypothesized could have prevented the innocent suffering of the sinners, reduced the scale of destruction, or announced his purpose of purifying mankind.

Toleration and other essays/Poem on the Lisbon Disaster - Wikisource, the free online library

In the poem, Voltaire rejected belief in " Providence " as impossible to defend — he believed that all living things seemed doomed to live in a cruel world. Voltaire concludes that human beings are weak, ignorant and condemned to suffer throughout life.

Mais quelle désastre

There is no divine system or message as guidance, and God does not concern himself with human beings, or communicate with them.