What Were Voltaire's Main Achievements?

Voltaire became one of France's most prolific writers during the Enlightenment, and as a result his main achievements were his unique literary and rhetorical contributions to the era through the use of popular writings, which brought previously unpopular ideas into the sphere of public debate. Despite writing a number of plays, poems and historical works, Voltaire disliked the novel, never writing one as a result.

Voltaire experimented with written language in many of his works, which led him to create a unique, deceptively simplistic style. As well as penning many dramatic works, he enjoyed acting, and this employment of characterization also found its way into his work. It is believed to have written under at least 100 different pseudonyms during his career

This resulted in many differing ideas and opinions on everything from philosophy to history, and makes pinning down exactly what Voltaire thought difficult. He was primarily concerned with the impact of what he wrote, and came to greatly value popularity and the public opinion of his works.

Voltaire used his popularity to create more interest in both himself and his work, even going so far as to cultivate an image around himself. He was arguably one of the first who understood the importance that popular literature could have in swaying public opinion, regardless of its message.