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Essay on Voltaire’s Candide: Visualizing Perfection

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Visualizing Perfection in Candide 

"All is for the best...in the best of all possible worlds."  To picture greatness, perfection and brilliance all intertwined into one splendid world -- a utopia, infers visualizing absolute beauty, harmony, and a universal tolerance amongst mankind. Would not such "perfection" designate the "best of all possible worlds?" How could we possibly conceive the sinister world portrayed in Candide to be conveyed as "utopia?" Since the best of all possible worlds indicates that "all is for the best" is it not safe to derive at the conclusion that since our world is clearly not "perfect" it is therefore implied that "all" is not for the best? Who determines the "right" from the "wrong," the "beautiful" from the "hideous," the "strong" from the weak?" How does one know if they are right? How does one ever know if they chose "correctly?" How does one allow themself to be infatuated with an idea as to blindly (correctly or incorrectly) follow it and believe? When do you question yourself? Doubt and "double-guess" yourself? Such correlating topics of an ambiguous solution are sought to be explained in Candide.

Voltaire's masterpiece Candide recounts the journey of a young man as he ventures the world and faces reality, deals with it, is guided, transformed, and eventually defined by it. Voltaire's story tells the tale of Candide as his character matures from the naivete of a child to the extensive temperament of a distinguished man.

Born and raised in the castle of the Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh, in the land of Westphalia, Germany, Candide is firs...


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...n the best of possible worlds; for short, had you not been kicked out of a fine castle by the backside for the love of Miss Cunegund, had you not been put into the Inquisition, had you not traveled over America on foot, had you not run the Baron through the body, and had you not lost all your sheep which you brought from the good country of El Dorado, you would not have been here to eat preserved citrons and pistachio nuts."

Voltaire therefore exhibits both sides of the spectrum, Pangloss, the unchanging, and Candide the "developed." These adventures broadened the horizons of Candide, and with him, the reader also undergoes many thought provoking dilemmas, cultivating himself in many of the same ways. This tale doesn't flounder all hope of "perfection," but it does present, in laymen's terms the ideas behind Murphy's Law.

 


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