Candide Essay

Candide Essay

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Candide

Candide, written by Voltaire during the 18th century is a celebrated novel known for it's strong criticism of the Middle Ages and Enlightenment expressed by Voltaire. During the transformation from the Middle Ages to The Enlightenment, social, religious and political ideas were rejected and emphasis was placed on rationalism. Three examples of this notion that are expressed in Candide are as follows.

Social conduct that was normally practiced during the 18th century was thrown out of the window during the Enlightenment. Enlightenment thinkers were famous for piercing criticism. Civilians were steadily gaining the newfound knowledge presented by various prodigies during this century. Most people were beginning to think for themselves, which is something that had not happened in previous centuries. Voltaire expresses these innovative views in Candide through his characters. The count's character illustrates Voltaire's skepticism at the idea that anything, even great art, can make human beings happy. The emphasis on gaining knowledge through experience is strongly characteristic of Voltaire's own thinking. Also, Voltaire creates his own vision of a Utopia in Candide. This is a beautiful place where there is no social reform, no religious stature and no poverty stricken population. Candide finds himself in this utopia, but soon learns that a little imperfection is really what the world needs to function in a reasonable manner.

Another issue that was transformed during the Enlightenment was religion. During the Middle Ages, the officials of the Inquisition steadily tortured and murdered many people on the slightest suspicion of heresy against orthodox Christian doctrine. Also known as the auto-da-fe, or act of faith. J...


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...not how real life really went, but it is a close version. Voltaire uses exaggeration of this sort throughout the novel to expose the absurdity of various beliefs related to the natural superiority belief. This makes the nobility's concern over the subtleties of birth look absurd. Voltaire was not afraid to convey his thoughts on the subject. This was an instance that needed to be brought to everyone's attention, especially nobles being ridiculed.

Candide is a novel based on true life, yet stretched out to show the audacity of the way the world was ran during the 18th century. During the Enlightenment, many things changed for the better; things that were not even thought of for hundreds of years. It took civilians and even nobles a lot of time to come to terms with the new era in which they lived but it helped pave the way to the society in which we live today.

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