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Additional info for Candide (Cliffs Notes)
He was able, however, to attend the sixth performance and to receive the acclaim of an enthusiastic audience. Page 12 Voltaire, the long-time valetudinarian who now was eighty-four years of age, died on May 30, 1778. Typically, the man who had erected a Catholic Church on one of his estates (having the inscription ''Deo erexit Voltaire" placed upon it), and who in his last years played chess regularly with a Jesuit, refused Extreme Unction and absolution. There was thus difficulty relating to his burial, and his body was hastily interred at the abbey of Scellières in Champagne barely before the interdict of the bishop.
But especially he revered Alexander Pope, with whom he had so much in common the satiric gift, wit, great facility at versifying, the critical temperament and, yes, the vindictiveness, the inability to suffer a fool gladly. While in England, Voltaire learned to read and write the language fluently. He read avidly the works of Bacon, Shakespeare, Milton (whose allegory of Death and Sin he found unacceptable), Newton, and Locke (whose views on tolerance particularly were acceptable to him). His newfound interest in Shakespeare was to lead him to begin writing his own Roman play, Brutus.
Voltaire succeeded in having the sentence reversed. Little wonder that he was hailed as the apostle of freedom, as well as intellectual potentate of Europe. Voltaire began his literary career as a tragic poet, if one excepts minor verse; he was to end it as one and to end it triumphantly. In the spring of 1778 his last play, the tragedy Irene, was accepted for performance in Paris, and the old man was determined to be present at the Première. His return to the city from which he had been exiled time and again created a sensation.