Idiocy Of Optimism In Voltaire's Candide

Decent Essays
Idiocy of Optimism in Candide
Throughout the novel the reader is presented with a sense of false optimism. There are constant references which are taken false heartedly, but if the reader examines the text it reveals a different story. Voltaire created characters who look at life with a pollyanna perspective. Against the attitude displayed by the characters he juxtaposes their foolishness by using irony shown through underlying comments in the text. However, as some of the characters go through their journey it allows them to see the idiocy of their unrealistic optimism that limits them from living life to the fullest. The main character Candide exemplifies this transformation from a naive optimist due to Dr. Pangloss’s teachings, to a man who is able to cultivate his own garden. It is through numerous interactions with others and experiences that challenge what he has been taught to believe.
Throughout the book there are a number of events that are presented as everything being okay and that there isn't a wrong in the world. The book’s subjectiveness to all is well even when malicious acts are happening directly in the text shows this unrealistic optimism in the novel. For example, the old woman tells Cunegonde about her hardships in life and says, “Imagine to yourself the distressed situation of the daughter of the Pope, only 15 years old, who, in less than three months, had felt the miseries of poverty and slavery, had been ravished almost everyday, had beheld her
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