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Rising Above a Corrupt World in Voltaire's Candide Essay

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Rising Above a Corrupt World in Voltaire's Candide

 
     Society can be, and is, corrupt in many different ways. Within our lives we are subject, but not limited to, corruptions within religion, corruptions of morals, and corruption within the government. Voltaire, the author of Candide, uses a naïve protagonist to illustrate his view of the world. Candide, surrounded by a corrupt society, and bombarded by various character defining events, is able to come to a higher understanding as to his philosophy of life.

 

Candide, by Voltaire, is a story about an optimistic young man who encounters various misfortunes on his search for an ideal world. Having unfortunately been kicked out of his home for the love of Lady Cunegonde, Candide suffers through many natural and unnatural catastrophes during his travels. However, holding on to his claim that all is for the best, Candide travels the world abroad with a totally naïve attitude. Constantly being reunited with many of his peers, Candide suffers the cruelty of the Bulgar army, a tempest, a shipwreck, an earthquake, and an auto da fe'.

 

Candide's optimism, stemming from his tutor Dr. Pangloss, keeps him totally determined to find his lost love, Lady Cunegonde, and an ideal world. However, Voltaire takes Candide around the world to discover that, contrary to the teachings of his distinguished tutor Dr. Pangloss, all is not always for the best.

 

In Candide, Voltaire uses general criticisms paired with specific examples to illustrate his idea concerning the contemporary corruption of the time. It is a "grinning critique of the 18th century's excesses and cruelties" (Kanfer 1). With Candide, Voltaire tried to show the world just how unjust and cruel it was....


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...we in fact free ourselves from the constraints of "the game". It is in this choice, and freedom associated with it, that enables us (Candide, Lady Cunegonde, etc...) to live the rest of our lives content and fulfilled.

 

Works Cited

Beck, Ervin. "Voltaire's Candide." Explicator 57 (Summer99). Ebsco Academic Search Elite. 10 Oct. 2000.

Bell, Ian A. "Candide: Overview." Reference Guide to World Literature 2nd ed. (1995). 5 Nov. 2001

Kanfer, Stefan. "Barnum meets Voltaire." New Leader 80 (1997). Ebsco Academic Search Elite. 10 Oct. 2000.

Mason, Hayden. "Voltaire: Overview." Reference Guide to World Literature 2nd ed. (1995). 5 Nov. 2001

Voltaire. Candide. 1759. Ed. Stanley Appelbaum. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1991.

Wade, Ira O. "Voltaire's Quarrel with Science." Bucknell Review VIII.4 (1959): 287?298. 5 Nov. 2001


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