Candide by Voltaire

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Voltaire was the author of the novella Candide, also known as "Optimism". The the novella, Voltaire portrays the idea of Optimism as being illogical and absurd. In Candide, Voltaire satirizes the doctrine of Optimism, an idea that was greatly used during the Enlightenment time period by philosophers. In this narrative, Candide is a young man who goes through a series of undertakings and ventures around the the globe where he experiences evil and adversity. Throughout his journeys, Candide maintained the ideas of the teachings of his tutor, Pangloss. Candide and Pangloss believed in the idea that “All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds...” (Voltaire 4). This belief is what Voltaire pointed out to be an irrational way of thinking during the Age of Enlightenment. Voltaire’s main criticism of philosophical Optimism consisted on the illogical extent to which they would justify the presence of evil in their lives. According to Voltaire, many of the reasons Candide and Pangloss gave to justify their misfortunes were simply exaggerated and ridiculous.Though he considered the belief of Optimism to be ignorant, Voltaire didn’t considered himself to be a pessimist. “The world is whatever it is capable of being. Life is neither very good nor very evil. It is tolerable since, generally speaking, people find it so...We must accept life, nature, and her conditions, utilizing them as best we can” (Voltaire).

The Age of Enlightenment is the era in which many advances took places in Western philosophy, intellectual, scientific, and cultural life. This time period revolves around reasoning and the belief that the world could be a better world if everyone worked together. During this time period, everything was explained through...

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...taire 75). Voltaire says that the only way to find true contentment is by hard work since achieving true happiness is a hard thing to do and find. Voltaire’s Candide or Optimism shows his attitude towards this doctrine in a noticeable and profound way. Throughout the entire novel Voltaire’s point of view is clearly showed and also judged by the many believers of the doctrine of Optimism and his fellow philosophers of the time period. On the other hand, it is now considered a class literature everyone should read.

Works Cited

Bottiglia, William. "Candide's Garden." Voltaire: A Collection of Critical Essays. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Voltaire, and Norman L. Torrey. Candide, Or, Optimism. Arlington Heights, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1985. Print.

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