The French Satire, Candide, By Voltaire

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The French satire, Candide written by Voltaire, was a response to philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The publication of Candide, in 1759, was also inspired by the Seven Years War and the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. The Lisbon Earthquake specifically, influenced the way the generation viewed the idea of optimism. Coining the concept “all is for the best in this all of best possible worlds." Voltaire openly rejected this idea, believing if this were the best of all possible worlds, it should be better. Voltaire uses the earthquake in Candide, satirically describing it as a terrible disaster in the best of all possible worlds. In the novel, Voltaire portrays the foolishness of optimism. In the end of the novel Candide purchases Cunegonde’s freedom. Candide is disappointed when he sees Cunegonde has become ugly, but follows through on his promise and marries her anyway. Although Candide keeps an optimistic attitude throughout the novel, he never succeeds in his pursuit of pleasure, and is never truly content. Through Candide’s personal journey, and by Voltaire’s deliverance and development of new characters, the idea that human beings will never be satisfied in their endeavor for happiness is portrayed. Therefore, the concept that “all is for the best in this all of best possible worlds” is too simplistic to fully describe the imperfections in the world and is a foolish representation of evil. Candide grew up in the home of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh. He is tutored by the

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