"Candide" - A Parody of Optimism Book Review

"Candide" - A Parody of Optimism
An analytical review of Voltaire's "Candide," focusing on the protagonist's optimistic outlook.
# 144704 | 771 words | 0 sources | 2009 | US
Published on Sep 24, 2010 in Literature (French)

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This paper provides a concise, analytical review of Voltaire's "Candide." The paper explains that Voltaire's Candide was written as a powerful rebellion against the Age of Enlightenment, a time in which philosophers advocated reason as a moral principle. The paper discusses the tragic hero, Candide, who tries to stay optimistic throughout his journey and keep in mind what his teacher Pangloss always told him, that everything is necessarily for the best. The paper notes that Pangloss's interpretation of cause and effect is portrayed in a comical way because even in the worst situations, he finds reason to keep a positive attitude. The paper asks whether Voltaire is an optimist or a pessimist, analyzing his world view. The paper points out that Candide's enthusiastic view of life is contrasted with, and challenged by the suffering and hardship he faces throughout the book. The paper concludes that Voltaire makes Candide an interesting and entertaining book, but also uses it to ridicule philosophy and publicize the problems of humanity during the Age of Enlightenment and that still exist today.

From the Paper:

"Along Candide's long, treacherous travels, he endures a plethora of obstacles after leaving Eldorado that culminate into his eventual abandonment of optimism. Candide unfortunately loses four of his sheep, which held precious jewels, and he soon after sees his two remaining sheep get stolen. He cries out to Pangloss "I'm through, I must give up your optimism after all" (Voltaire, 63). Although Candide began losing his optimism, he never fully surrendered, despite all the obstacles he faced. Martin is a pessimist that constantly shows Candide that the world is vicious and evil. Voltaire also uses events, such as the Lisbon earthquake and war to show that things are not always for the best. During the story, an earthquake strikes killing many. In reality, this is a horrific predicament to be involved in. In Pangloss' world, "It is impossible for things not to be where they are, because everything is for the best" (Voltaire 35). Pangloss believed that the earthquake was necessary in the course of nature, so there was a legitimate reason for its occurrence. Pangloss tries to defend his theories by determining the positive from the negative situation, while Candide begins to question if this perspective is true."

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"Candide" - A Parody of Optimism (2010, September 24) Retrieved November 30, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/candide-a-parody-of-optimism-144704/

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