The Naive Protagonists of Candide and Forrest Gump

Powerful Essays
The Naive Protagonists of Candide and Forrest Gump

Society can be, and is, corrupt in many different ways. Within our lives we are subject, but not limited to, corruptions within religion, corruptions of morals, and corruption within the government. Voltaire, the author of Candide, and Robert Zemeckis, the director of "Forrest Gump", both use grotesquely naïve protagonists to illustrate their view of the world in which they live. Nevertheless, Candide and Forrest, surrounded by a corrupt society, and bombarded by various character defining events, are able to come to a higher understanding as to their philosophy of life.

Candide, by Voltaire, is a story about an optimistic young man who encounters various misfortunes on his search for an ideal world. Having unfortunately been kicked out of his home for the love of Lady Cunegonde, Candide suffers through many natural and unnatural catastrophes during his travels. However, holding on to his claim that all is for the best, Candide travels the world abroad with a totally naïve attitude. Constantly being reunited with many of his peers, Candide suffers the cruelty of the Bulgar army, a tempest, a shipwreck, an earthquake, and an auto da fe'.

Candide's optimism, stemming from his tutor Dr. Pangloss, keeps him totally determined to find his lost love, Lady Cunegonde, and an ideal world. However, Voltaire takes Candide around the world to discover that, contrary to the teachings of his distinguished tutor Dr. Pangloss, all is not always for the best.

Likewise a naïf is the main character of "Forrest Gump" by Robert Zemeckis, which spans a period of three decades centered around a growing boy with a low IQ. Forrest manages to ...

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Forrest Gump. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Perf. Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, and Gary Sinise. (Paramount Pictures, 1994.)

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Voltaire. Candide. Trans. Lowell Bair. New York: Bantam Books, 1959.

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