Voltaire Candide

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Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire was the French author of the novella Candide, also known as "Optimism"(Durant and Durant 724). Voltaire's Candide is a philosophical tale of one man's search for true happiness and his ultimate acceptance of life's disappointments. Candide grows up in the castle of his uncle, a German baron, along with his optimistic scholar, Pangloss, and his young, beautiful cousin, Cunégonde. When Candide falls in love with Cunégonde and his uncle sees them kissing, Candide is thrown out of his home and enrolls in the Bulgar army. After being beaten for wandering from camp, Candide flees to Holland and runs into an ugly beggar, who he is told to be Pangloss. He tells Candide that Cunégonde and her family have been…show more content…
Voltaire uses Pangloss and a contrasting character, Martin, to point out the shortcomings in Leibniz’s philosophy. A contrast to the views of Pangloss is the character Martin. Martin, a pessimist, is a friend and advisor to Candide whom he meets on his journey. Martin continuously tries to prove to Candide that there is little virtue, morality, and happiness in the world. When a cheerful couple is seen walking and singing, Candide tells Martin, "At least you must admit that these people are happy (80)." Martin answers Candide’s comment with the reply, "I wager they are not (80)." Martin suggests that Candide invite the couple to dine at his hotel. As the young girl, now found to be Paquette, tells her story, Martin takes pleasure in knowing he has won the wager. Another contrast to this "best of all possible worlds" is Eldorado. Voltaire describes Eldorado as an extremely peaceful and serene country. Eldorado, a place that is "impossible" to find, has no laws, jails, war, or need for material goods. Voltaire uses Eldorado as an epitome of the "best of all possible worlds." It contrasts the real outside world in which war and suffering are everyday occurrences. Another example of how Voltaire ridicules Pangloss’ optimistic philosophy is the mention of the Lisbon earthquake and fire. Even though the disastrous earthquake took over 30,000 lives, Pangloss still upheld his

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