Candide Or Optimism, By Voltaire Essay example

Candide Or Optimism, By Voltaire Essay example

Length: 1170 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Candide or Optimism, written by Voltaire in 1759, was created to satirize the a priori thinking that everything is for the best in the world. Candide, the guileless and simpleminded main character and his companions are exposed to the very worst the world possibly has to offer with rape, murder, whippings, war, earthquakes, shipwrecks, cannibalism, thievery, disease, greed, and worst of all, human nature. Through these horrific events, Pangloss, the philosopher maintaining a priori thinking, stubbornly upholds the idea that everything is for the best. It is Pangloss’s influence above all else that is imprinted upon Candide and that as the novel progresses, is slowly replaced in Candide’s mind by others characters’ viewpoints. Rather than assertive and standalone, Candide acts as a reflective entity of other characters’ opinions and values throughout Voltaire’s Candide or Optimism to satirize the philosophy that everything is for the best.
At the very beginning of the novel, Candide is described with the quote, “his face was the expression of his soul. His judgment was quite honest and he was extremely simpleminded; and this was the reason, I think, that he was named Candide.” (p. 1). Without context, a reader could easily think this sentence was describing a child. The word he derives his name from, candid, is even an expression of being truthful and open, also connotations that children carry. Even acting childish, he simply does what people tell him to without question. On page five when he is accosted by Bulgarian military men and told that the King of Bulgarians is the most wonderful king and that Candide should drink to him, Candide does so without a moment’s hesitation. Also, children’s souls are thought to be innocent bec...


... middle of paper ...


...pting others’ is an element of the text because again, it is a satire, but also to highlight the absurdity of thinking that everything happens in order to maintain balance and keep things for the best. Candide’s naivety and almost painfully deliberate simplemindedness is used to represent mankind. At the time this was written, many people displayed similar much less exaggerated traits. By highlighting the complete absurdity of this way of thinking through Candide’s childlike repetition of other characters’ values and ideas, Voltaire illustrated that everything is not for the best in this not best of all possible worlds. He stated that one cannot simply float through life expecting good things to happen to him, not making any decisions for himself and relying on others for his ideas. It is crucial that we work for our happiness in life, that we cultivate our gardens.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Candide Or Optimism, By Voltaire Essay example

- Candide or Optimism, written by Voltaire in 1759, was created to satirize the a priori thinking that everything is for the best in the world. Candide, the guileless and simpleminded main character and his companions are exposed to the very worst the world possibly has to offer with rape, murder, whippings, war, earthquakes, shipwrecks, cannibalism, thievery, disease, greed, and worst of all, human nature. Through these horrific events, Pangloss, the philosopher maintaining a priori thinking, stubbornly upholds the idea that everything is for the best....   [tags: Candide, Voltaire, Best of all possible worlds]

Better Essays
1170 words (3.3 pages)

Voltaire Exposes the Fallacy of Optimism in Candide Essay

- Voltaire was the French author of the novella Candide, also known as "Optimism" (Durant and Durant 724). Famous as a playwright and essayist, Voltaire’s Candide is the book where he tries to point out the fallacy of Gottfried William von Leibniz's theory of Optimism. He uses satire, and techniques of exaggeration to contrast highlight the evil and brutality of war and the world in general when men are meekly accepting of their fate. Leibniz, a German philosopher and mathematician of Voltaire's time, developed the idea that the world they were living in at that time was "the best of all possible worlds." This systematic optimism shown by Leibniz is the philosophical system that believed ever...   [tags: Optimism by Voltaire]

Better Essays
1163 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Use of Satire to Attack Optimism in Voltaire's Candide

- Use of Satire to Attack Optimism in Voltaire's Candide     In its time, satire was a powerful tool for political assault on Europe's corrupt and deteriorating society. Voltaire's Candide uses satire to vibrantly and sarcastically portray optimism, a philosophical view from the Enlightenment used to bury the horrors of 18th century life: superstition, sexually transmitted diseases, aristocracy, the church, tyrannical rulers, civil and religious wars, and the cruel punishment of the innocent....   [tags: Candide essays]

Better Essays
1369 words (3.9 pages)

Use of Satire to Target Religion, Military, and Optimism in Voltaire's Candide

- Use of Satire to Target Religion, Military, and Optimism in Voltaire's Candide   In his work, Candide, Voltaire uses satire as a means of conveying his opinions about many aspects of European society in the eighteenth century.  Voltaire successfully criticizes religion, the military, and the philosophy of optimism.  Religious leaders are the targets of satire throughout Candide. Voltaire portrays the religious clergy as men who use their positions to further their own causes. In addition, the priests keep the less fortunate oppressed, so the clergy members can continue to enjoy extravagant luxuries....   [tags: Candide Voltaire essays]

Better Essays
603 words (1.7 pages)

Analysis Of Voltaire 's ' Candide ' Essay

- 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....   [tags: Voltaire, Candide, Optimism, Age of Enlightenment]

Better Essays
850 words (2.4 pages)

Voltaire : Voltaire 's Candide Essays

- Voltaire. Candide. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Classics, 1947. Print. François-Marie Arouet, or Voltaire was an Enlightenment thinker, whose ideas are portrayed in his satiric novel, Candide. In this short novel, Voltaire critiques French society of the time, and attacks Leibnizian optimism through his sarcastic representation of Professor Pangloss, one of the optimist philosophers. Throughout the book, he describes the reality of society, which is that of misery and pain. This novel was written in 1759 during the Age of Enlightenment, when Voltaire was already a known writer who was famous for his satirical wit....   [tags: Voltaire, Age of Enlightenment, Candide, Optimism]

Better Essays
2064 words (5.9 pages)

Essay on Voltaire's Candide - Optimism in Candide

- Optimism in Candide Voltaire's Candide uses anti-heroism as an object of mockery against the philosophers of the Enlightenment. Candide, the hero of the novel travels around the world where he encounters many difficulties. During his travels, he sticks to the teaching of his tutor, Doctor Pangloss, believing that "everything is for the best" (3). Voltaire points out the illogicality of this doctrine, "if Columbus had not caught, on an American island, this sickness which attacks the source of generation [...] we should have neither chocolate or cochineal" (8)....   [tags: Candide essays]

Free Essays
802 words (2.3 pages)

Voltaire's Candide as an Attack on Optimism Essay

- Voltaire's Attack on Optimism in Candide      Leibnitz emphasized, in his Discours de Metaphysique (Discourse on Metaphysics) (1686) the role of a benevolent creator. He called the constituent components of the universe monads, and while the philosophy of monads is of little concern to readers of Candide, the conclusion which Leibnitz drew from these monads is crucial to an understanding of optimism.             Leibnitz argued that all of these monads were linked in a complex chain of cause and effect and that this linking had been done by a divine creator as he created the harmonious universe....   [tags: Candide essays]

Better Essays
1281 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Voltaire's Candide - Voltaire's Opposition to Optimism

- Voltaire’s Opposition to Optimism in Candide Philosophy is a means by which humans search for a general understanding of the world and its concepts. Through experience, thought, and observation, one can arrive at a conclusion that forms the basis of his ideas. However, if one simply thinks and does not act, this conclusion does not make any significant difference on his life. This is a major point that Voltaire tries to make in Candide. He is trying to change society by demonstrating the absurdity of optimism....   [tags: Candide essays pessimism pessimist philosophy]

Better Essays
1084 words (3.1 pages)

Voltaire's Candide as Vehicle to Discredit Optimism Essay

- Voltaire's Candide as Vehicle to Discredit Optimism    Optimism was an attractive to many because it answered a profound philosophical question: if God is omnipotent and benevolent, then why is there so much evil in the world. Optimism provides an easy way out: God has made everything for the best, and even though one might experience personal misfortune, God (via your misfortune) is still helping the greater good.               Voltaire's experiences led him to dismiss the idea that this is the best of all possible worlds....   [tags: Candide essays]

Better Essays
1005 words (2.9 pages)