Philosophy is a means by which humans search for a general understanding of the world and its concepts. Through experience, thought, and observation, one can arrive at a conclusion that forms the basis of his ideas. However, if one simply thinks and does not act, this conclusion does not make any significant difference on his life. This is a major point that Voltaire tries to make in Candide. He is trying to change society by demonstrating the absurdity of optimism. Voltaire attacks optimism by pointing out the evils of the world, criticizing actual people and events of the time, and criticizing Pangloss' philosophy.
In Candide, Voltaire often criticizes war, denial, and religious views. He opposed violence and this is evident in many situations in Candide. For example, he used the war of the Bulgarians and the Abarians to point out the pointlessness of war. He believed that optimism was unnecessary and unjustified. If this were the best of all possible worlds, war would not have a purpose. Voltaire believed that God created the world and simply left it alone. Therefore, evil is inevitable because human nature leads people to perform evil actions. Voltaire strongly condemns "optimistic theories, for him they deny reality." (Juan Zerolo) Voltaire does not believe that by saying something, it will come true. Therefore, denying the existence of evil is not logical and does not amount to any greater good. Voltaire also denounced other's religious beliefs and intolerance. He criticized the belief that the world is in its best state because a higher being created it from the best of all possible worlds. He did not appeal to the corruption of the church, whi...
... middle of paper ...
...g impractical goals on people who have demonstrated that they will never obtain them. This will only end in unhappiness and disappointment. These people have shown that there is a slim chance that their behavior will drastically change to reflect the goals imposed on them.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Bottiglia, William. "Candide's Garden." Voltaire: A Collection of Critical Essays. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.
Frautschi, R.L. Barron's Simplified Approach to Voltaire: Candide. New York: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1968.
Jonas, Eric, from: http://www.ericjonas.com/ Accessed via the Internet 2/25/03
Kahn, Ludwig W. Voltaire. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1980.
Voltaire. Candide. New York: Viking Publishers, 1998.
Zerolo,Juan. Voltaire's Candide and the Critics. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc., 1996.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Candide's Metamorphosis In Voltaire's novella, we view the main character, Candide, as being sophomoric and rather naïve. Yet, Candide eventually frees himself from the shackles that burden his beloved philosopher Pangloss and other characters befriended along the way. Candide's journey back to Cunegonde become a means for him to emerge from his "self-imposed immaturity." The word "candide," which Cassell's French Dictionary defines as "ingenuous", would greatly summarize who the main character is to be perceived as.... [tags: Candide essays]
796 words (2.3 pages)
- Voltaire was the French author of the novella Candide, also known as "Optimism" (Durant and Durant 724). Famous as a playwright and essayist, Voltaire’s Candide is the book where he tries to point out the fallacy of Gottfried William von Leibniz's theory of Optimism. He uses satire, and techniques of exaggeration to contrast highlight the evil and brutality of war and the world in general when men are meekly accepting of their fate. Leibniz, a German philosopher and mathematician of Voltaire's time, developed the idea that the world they were living in at that time was "the best of all possible worlds." This systematic optimism shown by Leibniz is the philosophical system that believed ever... [tags: Optimism by Voltaire]
1163 words (3.3 pages)
- In Voltaire’s Candide, we are taken by the hand through an adventure which spanned two continents, several countries, and to a multitude of adverse characters. The protagonist, Candide, became the recipient of the horrors which would be faced by any person in the 18th century. But Candide was always accompanied with fellows sufferers, two of which our focus will lay, Pangloss and Martin. In equal respects, both are embodiments of different philosophies of the time: Pangloss the proponent of Optimism and Martin the proponent of Pessimism.... [tags: Voltaire, Candide]
1176 words (3.4 pages)
- The Enlightenment period of the 19th century was a major switch from a center around the Catholic Church to new secular ideas on politics and science, and the works of the writers who lived during this age reflect that. The French philosopher Voltaire, especially, expressed his opinions on society through satire, as in his novella, Candide. He invites his readers to look upon a world in which everything goes wrong and yet, the main character had an abundance of optimism—a contradiction that leads to Voltaire’s commentary in the work on utopias and how to find happiness.... [tags: Philosophy]
690 words (2 pages)
- Voltaire. Candide. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Classics, 1947. Print. François-Marie Arouet, or Voltaire was an Enlightenment thinker, whose ideas are portrayed in his satiric novel, Candide. In this short novel, Voltaire critiques French society of the time, and attacks Leibnizian optimism through his sarcastic representation of Professor Pangloss, one of the optimist philosophers. Throughout the book, he describes the reality of society, which is that of misery and pain. This novel was written in 1759 during the Age of Enlightenment, when Voltaire was already a known writer who was famous for his satirical wit.... [tags: Voltaire, Age of Enlightenment, Candide, Optimism]
2064 words (5.9 pages)
- Many people are asked the question if they are optimist and they will usually respond yes, no, or something else ,but what actually is an optimist, and is a good thing. Today optimist is defined as someone who always sees the bright side of any situation — a trait that can be either encouraging or annoying, depending on your frame of mind. In the enlightenment an optimist was defined as someone who believed that everything happened for the greater good, because of God. Many great writers of the enlightenment period,such as Voltaire, created literary works to criticize the overly optimistic society in which they lived in.... [tags: Voltaire, Candide, Optimism, Age of Enlightenment]
850 words (2.4 pages)
- Voltaire's Attack on Optimism in Candide Leibnitz emphasized, in his Discours de Metaphysique (Discourse on Metaphysics) (1686) the role of a benevolent creator. He called the constituent components of the universe monads, and while the philosophy of monads is of little concern to readers of Candide, the conclusion which Leibnitz drew from these monads is crucial to an understanding of optimism. Leibnitz argued that all of these monads were linked in a complex chain of cause and effect and that this linking had been done by a divine creator as he created the harmonious universe.... [tags: Candide essays]
1281 words (3.7 pages)
- Optimism in Candide Voltaire's Candide uses anti-heroism as an object of mockery against the philosophers of the Enlightenment. Candide, the hero of the novel travels around the world where he encounters many difficulties. During his travels, he sticks to the teaching of his tutor, Doctor Pangloss, believing that "everything is for the best" (3). Voltaire points out the illogicality of this doctrine, "if Columbus had not caught, on an American island, this sickness which attacks the source of generation [...] we should have neither chocolate or cochineal" (8).... [tags: Candide essays]
802 words (2.3 pages)
- Use of Satire to Target Religion, Military, and Optimism in Voltaire's Candide In his work, Candide, Voltaire uses satire as a means of conveying his opinions about many aspects of European society in the eighteenth century. Voltaire successfully criticizes religion, the military, and the philosophy of optimism. Religious leaders are the targets of satire throughout Candide. Voltaire portrays the religious clergy as men who use their positions to further their own causes. In addition, the priests keep the less fortunate oppressed, so the clergy members can continue to enjoy extravagant luxuries.... [tags: Candide Voltaire essays]
603 words (1.7 pages)
- Voltaire's Candide Voltaire uses many writing techniques, which are similar to that of the works of Cervantes, Alighieri, Rabelais and Moliere. The use of the various styles shows that, despite the passing of centuries and the language change, certain writing techniques will always be effective. One common literary technique is the author's use of one or more of his characters as his own voice to speak out the authors own views on certain subjects. For instance, in Moliere's Tartuffe, the author uses the character of Cleante to speak out against religious hypocrites: "Nothing that I more cherish and admire than honest zeal and true religious fire.... [tags: Voltaire Candide ]
1186 words (3.4 pages)