Few philosophers have made so great an impact on French philosophy as Voltaire. Born in 1694, Francois-Marie Arouet spent his early years in Paris, France. He was educated in the classics by Jesuits at the College Louis-le-Grand.
After finishing school, he wanted to become a writer. His father, though, wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become a lawyer. To appease him, Arouet pretended to pursue law while he wrote.
Arouet became popular amongst his peers for his satire and wit. Unfortunately, these same attributes soon landed him in hot water. After mocking the government, he was imprisoned in the Bastille for nearly a year. When he was released, he decided to adopt the name “Voltaire”.