Voltaire's Candide

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“Everything happens for the best, in this the best of all possible worlds.” This is a statement that can be found many times within Voltaire’s Candide. Voltaire rejected Lebitizian Optimism, using Candide as a means for satirizing what was wrong with the world, and showing that, in reality, this is not the best of all possible worlds. The philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz, which Voltaire called “optimism,” is one of the main themes of Candide. The two main points of Leibnitzian philosophy are that God is beneficent, and that in creating the world, He created the best possible one. Leibnitz did not argue that the world was perfect or that evil was non-existent, but thanks to God’s goodness and His constant concern with his creation, right finally emerges. It is all a matter of being able to see the Divine plan in its totality and not to judge by solitary parts. This theory was attractive to many because it answered a profound philosophical question that mankind had be struggling with since the beginning of faith: if God is all-powerful and benevolent, then why is there so much evil in the world? Optimism provides an easy way out of this. Voltaire’s experiences led him to dismiss the idea that this is the best of all possible worlds. Examining the death and destruction, both man-made and natural (such as the Libson earthquake), Voltaire concluded that everything was not, in fact, f...

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