Arts & EntertainmentLiterature

Voltaire, "Simple-minded": a summary

The story "Simple-hearted" is one of the most famous philosophical and satirical works of the great Voltaire, the largest philosopher-enlightener of France of the 18th century. For the first time the story was published in 1767 and soon, thanks to great success, translated into many languages.

Voltaire, "Simple-minded": a brief summary. String

July 1689 was in the courtyard. One evening, in the Lower Brittany along the seashore, the abbot de Kerkabon and his sister strolled. The abbot indulged in reflections on the fate of his brother and his family, who 20 years ago went from this shore on a ship to Canada, and since then there has been no news from them.

At that very moment a ship enters the bay, moored, and a young man landed on the shore. He is clothed in Indian clothes and seems Simplehearted - that's how his friends-English nicknamed him for honesty and sincerity. The abbot invites him to stay overnight.

The next day, the young man, wishing to thank the hospitable hosts, gives a talisman - several portraits of unknown to the Simple-minded people, bound by a cord. Among these images, the abbot learns of his brother and his wife who disappeared in Canada.

The simpleheart tells that he does not know his parents, but the Indians raised him. De Kercabon and his sister are for the boy's uncle and aunt, from that time he lives with them.

The simplehearted did not know his parents, and he was raised by the Huron Indians. Finding in the person of the Prior and his sister loving uncle and aunt, the young man settles in their house.

Saint Ives

Highly moral and ideal, in terms of morality, creates the character of Voltaire ("Simple-minded"). The plot of the same work is designed to convince the reader that the behavior of the protagonist should become a reference for all.

So, the Prior decides to baptize the Simple-minded. But first, it was necessary to dedicate it to the foundations of a new religion for him. The young man reads the Bible and comprehends its meaning due to the lack of influence of the enlightenment society. The simplehearted goes through a church rite and falls in love with his godfather St. Ives. They admit to each other in love, and the young man makes a proposal to the girl. But first you need to ask permission from your parents. The abbot also explains to the Simple-minded that marrying the godmother is a sin. The young man responds that this was not mentioned in the Bible, nor about many other things that are accepted in society and are considered part of religious rites.

Laws of society

Volnar reveals the absurdities of his time. The simple-minded can not understand why a pope living for many miles should decide whether to marry him or not. The young man believes that he must decide his fate. After that, he breaks into Saint-Yves and offers to marry him, as he promised, and in general, this is his right. But others begin to explain that without law, notaries and treaties, anarchy will come.

The simpleheart answers that only dishonest people need such warnings. But he is told that the laws were invented by just enlightened and honest people. And if a person considers himself honest, then he must obediently obey the rules, setting an example to others.

Native St. Ives decide to send a girl to the monastery, and then hand over to the unloved but profitable bridegroom. Upon learning of this, the Simple-minded man becomes enraged and desperate.

The invasion of the English

Shows the clash of a society mired in vices, and a natural man who grew up far from civilization, Voltaire ("Simple-minded"). A brief summary helps to understand how far a society is from moral and true values.

So, the Simple-minded man wanders despondently along the shore. And then he sees how the French troops retreat in panic. It turns out that the squadron of the British landed on the shore and is preparing to attack the city. The simpleheart joins the battle and deals injury to the Admiral of the enemy. Seeing his courage, the French soldiers are encouraged and win. The city manages to be saved, but the Simple-minded becomes famous.

In the heat of battle, the young man wants to capture the monastery and release his beloved. But he is dissuaded and advised to go to the king at Versailles and ask for permission to marry. No one can then challenge his right to marry.

Persecution of Protestants

The wanderings of the main character of the novel The Simple-minded (Voltaire) continue. The content of the chapters tells how the young man goes to Versailles. His path runs through a small town. Protestants live here, who have just been deprived of all rights and forcibly converted to Catholicism because of the cancellation of the Edict of Nantes.

In tears, people leave their hometown. The simple-minded can not understand why the king, for the sake of the Pope, refuses 600 thousand loyal citizens and condemns them to wandering and poverty. The young man comes to the conclusion that the unworthy advisers and Jesuits that are surrounding the monarch are to blame for everything. Otherwise, what else could make the ruler indulge his enemy to the pope?

The simple-minded swears to the exiles that as soon as he meets the king, he will tell him the truth. Learning the truth, the ruler will certainly help his people. Unfortunately, these words are heard by a disguised Jesuit who works as an informer under the father of Lachaise, the confessor of the king, who is the persecutor of the Protestants.


It reveals the main shortcomings of French power Voltaire. The simple-minded one arrives at Versailles at the same time as the denunciation of the Jesuit. The young man, in his naivety, thought that as soon as he arrived, he would be able to see the king, tell about his exploits and receive as a reward the permission to marry his beloved, and even open the eyes of the monarch to the real horrible situation of the Huguenots.

With the great difficulty of the Simple-minded man, it is possible to obtain an audience only with a simple court official. He tells the hero that in his position he can only count on the purchase of the rank of lieutenant. The young man is indignant that he is also forced to pay to risk his life for the crown's glory. The hero scolds the official and promises to tell about his stupidity to the king. From this monologue, the courtier concludes that his guest is crazy, so he does not attach any importance to these words.

Father Lachaise receives two letters on the same day. The first - from the Jesuit, and the second - from the relatives of Saint-Ives, who called the Simple-hearted troublemaker and a madman, who was forcing soldiers to burn the monastery and steal the girl.

After these news soldiers are ordered to arrest the young man. At night, the hero comes and, in spite of fierce resistance, is sent to the Bastille. Here he finds himself in one chamber with the philosopher-jansenist Gordon.


At one time, Voltaire himself narrowly escaped imprisonment. "Simple-minded" ("The Prost" in other translations) was intended to show how easy it is for an honest man in France to be behind bars.

Father Gordon, a kind-hearted man, found himself in the Bastille without trial and effect for refusing to recognize the unlimited power of the Pope in France. The old man for his long life has accumulated a lot of knowledge, and the young man had a great interest in everything new. Conversations between the two prisoners gradually become more interesting and instructive. But the sanity of the mind and the naivete of the Simple-minded often put the philosopher at a dead end.

The young man reads various historical books. From this he concludes that humanity throughout its existence continuously committed only crimes. But, after reading Malbranch, the hero realizes that everything around him is only part of a huge mechanism, the soul of which is the god. Gradually the mind of the Simple-minded is strengthened, it develops physics, mathematics, geometry.

Cognition of truth

A very big resonance in society was the work that Voltaire wrote. "Simple-minded" is primarily a criticism of the monarch's power, and for that it was easy to lose your head at that time.

The reasoning of the young student leads the old philosopher into horror. Gordon looks at the young man and understands that he has only been engaged in strengthening his prejudices all his life, and his naive student, listening to the voice of nature, managed to get close to the truth much closer. Free from illusory ideas, the Simple-minded realized that the most important human right is freedom. He says that the scholastic arguments are empty and useless. God is everything that exists, so the arguments of believers are meaningless. Gordon realizes that his disciple is right, and is discouraged from realizing his mistakes. In the mouth of his hero he put his own judgments about the nature of the religion of Voltaire ("Simple-minded").

At the same time, Saint-Yves decides to go in search of his lover and goes to Versailles.


St. Ives escapes from under the crown and heads to the king's residence. The girl in desperation tries to meet with various high-ranking people, she soon finds out that her beloved is in the Bastille. The official, to whom Saint-Yves told this, regrets that he can not do good in the office he holds, otherwise he will lose it. But he suggests that the Minister de Saint-Poinage can help. The girl receives an audience with the one, but in exchange for the liberation of the Simple-minded, he wants the love of St. Ives. Friends pushed her to this victim. And so Saint-Yves was forced to fall for the sake of saving his beloved.

The simpleheart receives liberation. But the girl suffers because of her fall and dies of a fever. Upon learning of the death of St. Ives, Poinj repents of what he has done.

Time passes, which softens everything. The simple-minded becomes an officer and keeps the memory of his beloved to death.

Voltaire, "Simple-minded": analysis

A distinctive feature of this work is that the philosopher not only expressed his opinion on the structure of the state and the church, but also paid much attention to depicting the feelings of the main characters.

In this novel, Voltaire tried to find a balance between good and evil and to find a measure of these phenomena. And they became human freedom, which the king was supposed to provide. Freedom of people was mostly violated by the church at that time, which is why the philosopher criticizes her.

In 1994, the film "Simplehearted" (Voltaire) was screened. The film was shot jointly by the US, Russia and France. However, the audience did not get much popularity.

Similar articles





Trending Now






Copyright © 2018 Theme powered by WordPress.