Voltaire’s most classic work, Candide, is a satiric assault on most everything that was prevalent in society during the author’s lifetime. The entire novel can be regarded as a bleak story where every character compares life stories to see whose life is worse. Just when the novel cannot get anymore morbid or depressing, it does, to a much greater degree. While Candide is generally considered a universal denunciation, it is optimism that Voltaire is attacking to the greatest degree. However, there are numerous other satirical themes throughout the novel worth discussing. These other areas of mockery include aristocratic snobbery, religious bigotry, militarism, and human nature.
There is good reason that Voltaire was so fed up with optimism, or more specifically, Leibnizian optimism. During the decade in which Candide was originally composed, this brand of what Voltaire considered ludicrous optimism was in full swing. This branch of optimism gets its name from Gottfried Leibniz, one of the rationale leaders of the day springing off of Descartes. This optimism states that there is evil in the world, but that reason could explain evil. He believed that there were certain truths even God could not alter, such as two plus two equaling four. Since this has to be the case, there were limits when God created the universe, thus he was working with an already flawed system. Leibniz goes on to say that this being the case, a perfect world is impossible, but Earth is the best of all possible worlds. Now, while Voltaire was hearing that everything is for the best from his contemporaries, there were numerous drastic things going on in Europe and his life. There was a tremendous earthquake killing 100,000 people in ...
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...deal elsewhere. He is not content to be content; he wants more than that.
However, the main point Voltaire makes at the end of this novel with the garden is that to be content is to be happy. All the characters in the book were searching for happiness and yet always found discontent. It is at the end that finally Candide understands to be happy it is necessary to do something he is content in, and thus finds happiness. This is important to the satire of the whole, because it is Voltaire’s summation of all the criticisms, all that is wrong with society. This book is just an all out attack on society, and uses humor to illustrate his views. It is indeed a finally irony that in the end seriousness that the satirical journey of Candide comes to a close. “Let us cultivate our Garden.” Five short words, Voltaire’s final summation to the great comedy that is Candide.
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