Many people are asked the question if they are optimist and they will usually respond yes, no, or something else ,but what actually is an optimist, and is a good thing? Today optimist is defined as someone who always sees the bright side of any situation — a trait that can be either encouraging or annoying, depending on your frame of mind. In the enlightenment an optimist was defined as someone who believed that everything happened for the greater good, because of God. Many great writers of the enlightenment period,such as Voltaire, created literary works to criticize the overly optimistic society in which they lived in. One notable literary piece that specifically addressed optimism during the enlightenment was the book Candide.
Although optimism is necessary to give people hope, Voltaire satirizes the overly optimistic society in which he lives in through tone,exaggeration, and symbolism.
The book Candide, written by voltaire follows the life of a man named Candide who travels through Europe and South America. During his travels Candide experiences and witnesses many sufferings; the Lisbon earthquake, corporal punishment, murder, death, love loss, and so on. Candide was believed that “all was for the best” since the beginning of his life due to his mentor Dr. Pangloss. Although Candie was suppose to be an extreme optimist, it was hard for Candide to stay true to his beliefs as he continued on his unfortunate journey. In the end Candide’s perception of the world was transformed from a die hard optimist to an enlightened thinker. Candide’s lived the rest of his days with Cunegonde “his one true love”, and pangloss, on a farm in turkey where he focuses on “cultivating his own garden”
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...t silver lining.
An additional concept satirized by Voltaire in Candide was the optimistic culture of the aristocracy, “ ‘Alas!’ said Cunégonde, ‘my good mother, unless you have been ravished by two Bulgarians, have received two deep wounds in your belly, have had two castles demolished, have had two mothers cut to pieces before your eyes, and two of your lovers whipped at an auto-da-fé, I do not conceive how you could be more unfortunate than I. Add that I was born a Baroness of seventy-two quarterings—and have been a cook!’ " In this quote Voltaire uses Cunegonde as a symbol of the aristocracy and the aristocracy’s optimistic culture because he wishes to communicate ,through the literary device of symbolism, that suffering can happen to anyone, no matter what your standing in life is, so no one should be optimistic enough to believe nothing can happen to you.
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