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Essay on Voltaire’s Candide: A Typical Enlightenment Work

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Candide as a Typical Enlightenment Work

 
    Candide on the surface is a witty story. However when inspected deeper it is a philippic writing against people of an uneducated status. Candide is an archetype of these idiocracies, for he lacks reason and has optimism that is truly irking, believing that this is the best of all possible worlds. Thus Voltaire uses a witty, bantering tale on the surface, but in depth a cruel bombast against the ignoramuses of his times.

 

            Candide has reason only in the form of a companion upon which he relies for advice. His companion is Dr. Pangloss. He consistently dribbles to Dr. Pangloss about what should be done. Eventually Pangloss is killed by being hanged. But this means that Candide's reason is also dead! Candide goes and finds a new companion, "Lacking him [Pangloss], let's consult the old woman" (37). He soon loses her, gains another, looses him, and then gains another. Thus we see that Candide can only think if he has a companion. Voltaire is thus saying that all the nobles are really idiots and says they are only sma...


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