Voltaire 's Candide As An Opportunity For Growth Or Stagnation?
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As humans, we have choices: To change, to stay the same, to work, to rest; each choice provides an opportunity for growth or stagnation. Voltaire’s Candide is a satire, originally published in 1759. The enlightenment ideals which originated in the 17th century and continued into the 18th century are highly prevalent in Candide. The work includes vehement criticism of nobility, philosophy, religion, and basic human cruelty. The main criticism of Voltaire’s work is directed toward philosophical optimism, a widely accepted idea at the time. Philosophical optimism is the conviction that “We live in the best of all possible worlds.” Voltaire’s writing is in line with the philosophy stated in John Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government on labor which is that “every man has a property in his own person: this nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property,” as Candide encourages free will and labor in order to achieve a desired end. Voltaire’s Candide employs the motifs of resurrection, hypocrisy, and crime in order to amplify the negative aspects of human nature, and in doing so, rejects the idea that “we live in the best of all possible worlds” and encourages the exercise of free will as well as making the choice