Essay Voltaire’s "Candide"

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Voltaire’s Candide portrays an exaggerated image of human cruelty and suffering in the world. Specifically, Voltaire criticizes people’s lack of willingness to prevent suffering, and their tendency to accept the idea that there is nothing anyone can do about human outcomes. He upholds his belief that practical ways of solving problems generate improvement. He believes that human indifference and inaction cause suffering to carry on. Voltaire’s believes that naïve optimism, absolute pessimism, cruel indifference, and lack of reason hinder positive and constructive change.
Pangloss is a major representation of the optimistic philosophy of life. This naïve optimism does not promote the improvement of conditions in the world because it
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Martin is another character who holds a philosophy that is not useful. Martin holds a pessimistic view of people, claiming that humans are innately evil. For example, he compares the natural evils in humans with the natural tendency for hawks to prey on pigeons (87). When Candide accuses Martin of being possessed by the devil, Martin says, “he is so deeply concerned in the affairs of this world that he may as well be in me, as well as in everybody else” (82). Contrary to Pangloss, who is in denial of societal faults, Martin has accepted suffering as a present part of life. Although acceptance is important, Voltaire criticizes pessimism to being as equally detrimental as optimism. Martin constantly criticizes the evil in people and finds the fault in others. When Candide trusts Cacambo to take on the great task of retrieving Cunegonde, Martin condemns Candide for foolishly trusting a person enough to think that he will do him any favors with large sums of money handed to him. This is evidence to further suggest his belief in the natural evils in people. When Candide increasingly loses hope in Cacambo ever returning with Cunegonde, Martin is “not consoling” and “continued to prove to him that there was very little virtue or happiness upon earth” (104). Because Martin’s statements do nothing to help Candide’s
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