In Zadig by Voltaire, what is an example of political satire?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One example of political satire in Zadig, a novel of social satire, involves Babylonian King Moabdar, who was interested in doing away with his wife, Queen Astarte, because of rumor and innuendo. The Queen escaped and hid in a statue in the temple and when King Moabdar came in to pray and seek the statue's blessing, Queen Astarte spoke to him from inside the statue. This led to his insanity, which then led to a revolt against him in the land, which led to his death. After many struggles during which his identity was stolen and he received help from an angel, Zadig won the hand of Queen Astarte and the throne of Babylon.

Voltaire uses this example to look at the political problem of rulers and governments focusing on personal aggrandizement and rumors instead of spending time on the really important question relating to ruling or governing for the people of the land. King Moabdar's efforts led to the loss of his mental powers, meaning his ability to see reality versus...something else, which robbed him of his ability--his wit--to rule the land. The revolt that consequently ensued then took his life, which robbed him of the ability to rule altogether. In his stead, Zadig ruled with Queen Astarte still on her throne but now at the side of Zadig. Noble deportment and governance of good for the people wins the prize.

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