Candide, by Voltaire

Good Essays
Somewhere out there in the world, a car is being stolen, a child is stealing from his mother's purse, or a bank is being robbed. Why are people stealing and taking things for their own claim? Often the trait of greed is the reason for why a person partakes in such act. The trait of greed is impossible to be seen through appearance but rather by human behaviors itself. In Candide, by Voltaire, greed is expressed in a satirical manner through the actions of the characters in the novel. Through this trait, people are driven to make sacrifices and believe that happiness and satisfaction are only found when they are enriched with wealth.

Risking a life is one of the many concepts that occur when greed is in play. An example of this idea is displayed by the Lady Cunégonde, a daughter of the Barons. “Who could have robbed me of my moidores and diamonds?” cried Cunégonde, bursting into tears. “What are we to live on? Whatever shall we do? Where shall I find more Inquisitors and Jews to replace them?” (46). Voltaire uses situational irony to show Lady Cunégonde’s want for wealth and her willingness to risk her own life by finding another Jew and Inquisitor who will accommodate her with riches. Instead of being happy and relieved that she’s finally free from the misery of being shared by two men, she’s more concerned about finding another Jew and Inquisitor, whom she does not love, just to be provided with more money and diamonds. On the other hand, the sailor also sacrifices a life as well. As he, Candide, Pangloss, James the Anabaptist, and other passengers were making their way to Lisbon, a shipwreck occurred which caused James to fall into the sea. “The Anabaptist being upo...

... middle of paper ...

...n trait because it is an influential factor that causes humans to make unwise decisions in order to satisfy their beneficial needs. Voltaire’s attitude towards greed is that everyone has it within themselves to be selfish, regardless of what condition and social class the person may be in. People don’t always realize how detrimental the effects of greed can turn out until something tragic occurs in their lives. People can have greed for materials, for power, or for money. In the long run, all types of greed can lead to a corrupt society because people may end up fighting one another just to get what they want, or make sacrifices that can be harmful to not only themselves, but for others as well. If greediness in people was a puzzle, it will forever remain incomplete until the missing piece of contentment is found through whatever it is they have been longing to have.
Get Access