Voltaire Exposes the Fallacy of Optimism in Candide Essay

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Voltaire was the French author of the novella Candide, also known as "Optimism" (Durant and Durant 724). Famous as a playwright and essayist, Voltaire’s Candide is the book where he tries to point out the fallacy of Gottfried William von Leibniz's theory of Optimism. He uses satire, and techniques of exaggeration to contrast highlight the evil and brutality of war and the world in general when men are meekly accepting of their fate. Leibniz, a German philosopher and mathematician of Voltaire's time, developed the idea that the world they were living in at that time was "the best of all possible worlds." This systematic optimism shown by Leibniz is the philosophical system that believed everything already was for the best, no matter how …show more content…
Candide is the son of the Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh's sister. Candide grows up in the Castle of Westphalia and is taught by Dr. Pangloss, a man that Candide often looked to for insight and understanding. One of Panglos many great beleifs is that all is for the best and that good can be found in everything. Candide fell in love with a girl by the name of Lady Cunegonde who is described as having extravagant beauty.

Candide is abruptly exiled from the castle when found kissing the Baron's daughter, Cunegonde. Devastated by the separation from Cunegonde, his true love,
Candide sets out to different places in the hope of finding her and achieving total happiness. On his journey, he faces a number of misfortunes, among them being tortured during army training, yet he continues to believe that there is a "cause and effect" for everything. Candide is reunited with Cunegonde, and regains a life of prosperity, but soon all is taken away, including his beloved Cunegonde. He travels on, and years later he finds her again, but she is now fat and ugly. His wealth is all gone and so is his love for the Baron's daughter. Throughout Candide, we see how accepting situations and not trying to change or overcome obstacles can be damaging. Life is full of struggles, but it would be nonproductive if people passively accepted whatever fate had in store for them, shrugging off their personal responsibility. Voltaire believes
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