Voltaire 's View Of Hope And Optimism Vs. Reality Candide Essay

Voltaire 's View Of Hope And Optimism Vs. Reality Candide Essay

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Many ideals of the Enlightenment can be seen in Voltaire’s Candide. The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement of the eighteenth century, which was characterized by reason and by changes in education, religious, and political views. Voltaire depicted these ideas and his personal thoughts on the Enlightenment within his novel Candide.
One of the main ideas in this story is Voltaire’s view of hope and optimism versus the reality Candide encounters during his adventures throughout the story. Voltaire has an unconventional way of exaggerating contrast of Candide’s optimism and misfortune that makes the reading intriguing. Throughout the novel the rise and fall of Candide’s hope and optimism depends solely on his early beliefs. Historically natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze both social and personal human nature. Adversely, the characters Candide encounters show little to no moral standards. In Candide, Voltaire challenges hope and natural law by openly mocking both ideas on a regular basis. The following are examples of how Voltaire confronts hope and natural law.
Voltaire mocked the Enlightenment’s focus on hope when the reader was first introduced to the philosophy of Pangloss. Pangloss’ philosophy followed the idea that “everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.” This idea is the basic philosophy of Enlightenment thinkers who believed that any evil in the world was a sign that God was not entirely all- powerful. Thus suggesting that God must be perfect and so is the world that he created.
The beginning of the novel starts with Candide growing up in the castle Westphalia, in which his life was one of happiness and simplicity. However, things changed abruptly as he wa...


... middle of paper ...


...situations that changes his outlook of the world. .
Candide has learned to become himself, to accept life for what it has had to offer, and not to expect good or bad. Candide had nothing left except his farm with a garden. Here, Candide realizes that he was successful in attempting to find is happiness, but not as great as he had once hoped by saying, “We must cultivate our garden.”
Candide was written as entertainment, but it can be a valuable lesson for many people. Often the hope that Candide showed lead him to unexpected and tragic misfortune. However, he evaluated his desires and set out to accomplish them. Candide encountered “villains” through his travels that often lacked morals or reason contradicting the philosophy of the laws of nature. This was Voltaire’s way of challenging Candide’s optimistic views and mocking the perception of the Enlightenment.

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