A great philosopher Liebnitz once said that this is the best possible of all worlds. Voltaire disagrees. In Voltaire's Candide, the impartial narrator travels to distant lands and experiences a range of extremes. After having spent a great deal of time away from his homeland, and having seen more than most people see in a lifetime, the narrator is forced to conclude that this may not be the best possible world because of the reality of evil. Voltaire relates this point very effectively through his mastery of language and the choices he makes, both gramatically and content-related.
In one particular passage, Voltaire uses explicit diction, exaggerated
details and manipulated syntax in order to contrast the optimist's romantic
view of battle with the horrible reality that is war. Voltaire's grossly
exaggerated details give a somewhat comical description of an otherwise
horrible event. "The cannons battered down about six thousand men", and
then "the musket-fire removed...about nine or ten thousand" and finally, the
... middle of paper ...
lifetime, Voltaire awakened people through his writing. He masterfully
chose his diction and details to show the contrast between the ridiculous
ideas of the optimist and the truth that only the realist could see. His
choice of syntax leaves the reader with unforgettable images of war that
will have a lasting effect. Through his clever satire, Voltaire urges the
reader to be more practical rather than happily ignorant.
Voltaire. Candide. Trans. Bair, Lowell. New York: Bantam Books, 1988.
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