Social Issues of Poverty and Class Distinction during the Enlightenment Period

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Social Issues of Poverty and Class Distinction during the Enlightenment Time Period Introduction Candide takes the form of a classic journey story and Candide must endure a series of misfortunes and trials before he can be reunited with his beloved and regain a qualified kind of redemption. It is in the misfortunes that Candide and others suffer in the novel that Voltaire cuts through the pretensions and hypocrisies of the Age of Reason (Cohen). The philosopher Pangloss, Candide's tutor, insists that they live in "the best of all possible worlds" and maintains that view through various sophistries, but reality tells a different story. Candide meets characters who view the world quite differently, most notably Martin, who asserts that he has "scarcely seen a town that did not desire the ruin of the next town, nor a family that did not wish to exterminate some other family" (pg. 56). Early on, Candide wanders into a war-ravaged village, where he sees "old men riddled with wounds . . . their wives lay dying, their throats cut, clutching their children . . . young girls in their last agonies, disemboweled after having satisfied the natural urges of various heroes . . ." (pg. 8). This juxtaposition of brutality shows the difference between human and human behaviors. Nonetheless, the novel depicts that man is capable of clever philosophizing, but superstition and ignorance still rule the day. Voltaire Voltaire is the non de plume name of François-Marie Arouet; a French

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