Throughout the novel, Candide comes across many religious leaders during his journey that Voltaire portrays with irony and hypocrisy. After escaping to Holland in the beginning of the novel, Candide encounters an orator who has been addressing on the subject of charity for a whole hour. The orator, when asked for food, tells Candide that he “don’t [doesn’t] deserve to eat” because Candide does not believe that the Pope is Antichrist. (27) Although people around him are actually suffering from continuous war and devastating poverty, the orator only seems to care about giving a speech on charity and converting others to his religious beliefs. Not to mention that his own religious belief or speech, ironically, also encourages reaching out to those in need. Stubborn and egoistic orator is engulfed with his certainness in his belief, and fails to recognize it himself that he, in fact, is going against his own belief. Another example of hypocrisy of religion is shown by the Grand Inquisitor who makes a deal with Don Issachar to share Cunegonde as a mistress.
Candide is consistently being brainwashed by reason (Pangloss) saying that we live in "the best of all possible worlds", while it is quite obviously that he does not. For how can there be, in the best of all worlds, war, slavery and many more abominations. Half-way through the book it would appear that Candide has given up his optimism when he looked at the Negro slave. "Oh Pangloss... I'll have to give up your optimism at last" (73). But to the distress of the readers he has not given up his chafing optimism. "Since I found you [an Eldoradian sheep laden with stones], I'm sure I can find Cunegnde again" (79). Thus we see that he has quickly recovered his optimism. Voltaire is using Candide's blatant optimism to relate to the people of his time that also have the same type of optimism.
In Candide, or Optimism, Voltaire envisions a paradise, El Dorado, where the inhabitants have all they ever need and the idea of physical wealth or excess does not
Even though many people practiced this doctrine Voltaire did not aside with it instead, he implanted doubts on the chances of achieving true happiness and real conformism. Voltaire’s opinion was that one could not achieve true happiness in the real world but only experience it in an utopia. With the many hardships that Candide goes through ultimately leads him to abandon his attitude of optimism. Candide’s misfortunes and adversities often contrasted with his optimistic view on life. Noticeably, Voltaire uses this satirical piece as a way to criticize this exaggerated optimism. This tale as stated by William Bottiglia, “ Has had a great effect on modern writers who confront mankind’s inhumanity to fellow human beings by presenting the human condition absurdly, ironically, and humorously...” (Bottiglia 112).
As Candide was forced in to the army and treated extremely badly, Voltaire is expressing his criticism of political power being unfair and out of control, forcing people to do certain things. With authoritive figures exercising their political powers in an unjust fashion, Voltaire feels that freedom of expression, something he strongly advocated, was being jeopardized. Politics are continued to be criticised throughout the novel in the same way religion was attacked. Examples can be found in Chapter 6 were Lisbon authorities burn “heretics” to prevent future natural disasters, Chapter 13 suggests governors receiving sexual favours from their female subjects and Chapter 19 sees business men mistreating their slaves. Each of these examples sees characters within the story misusing their power and authority to benefit them personally. Voltaire uses these examples to show on different levels how politically incorrect society was during the pre-modern period, something he felt desperately need to change.
Candide, along with his companion Cacambo, stumbles onto the secluded but physically speaking flawless land of Eldorado. Not even here is Candide able to find everything that he is looking for. Eldorado, which was originally the home land of the Incas, is completely sheltered from the rest of the world by the means of unsurpassable mountains. It is here that people are able to escape the evils of the world. Happiness in the real world is just a moment of happening which
El Dorado is a utopia, however it is not a utopia for Candide and Cacambo. Although they would have been able to live in comfort, it is Candide's love for Lady Cunegonde and Cacambo's restless nature that prevent El Dorado from being a utopia for
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to death your right to say it,” were the famous words of Fracois Marie Arouet, more commonly known under the pen name of Voltaire. He was known for being very outspoken and rebellious, which got him into trouble with the authorities for most of his life. Voltaire advocated the French bourgeoisie as being ineffective, the aristocracy as being corrupt, and the commoners as being too superstitious. Voltaire’s beliefs on freedom and reason is what ultimately led to the French Revolution, the United States Bill of Rights, and the decrease in the power of the Catholic Church, which have all affected modern western society.
In the novel, Voltaire shows that Candide also expresses tyranny touching upon the values of power of reason and progress and potential. A specific scene on progress and potential states “He then informed the Baron that he was going to marry his sister. ‘I shall never allow her to disgrace herself so meanly,’ said the
Francois-Marie Arouet, better known by his pen name “Voltaire”, once said “Nothing is more dangerous than ignorance and intolerance armed with power”. This quote criticizes the government and the Catholic Church - two institutions known for their lack of tolerance, respect, and value of the common person’s life. Voltaire was a French author, historian, and philosopher who was active during the age of enlightenment in the 18th century. It was a time characterized by the discussion of four new values: Humanitarianism, ending suffering; Progress, furthering society; Rationality, using logic and reason to improve the world; and Freedom of Thought, challenging traditional authority, blind obedience, and superstition. Voltaire is known for
Though Voltaire may not have had this personal experience, the story had been heard many times. Go to war fight and die for the power of a far off monarch. Candide may be simple, but he is not stuipid. Once he sees the equal attrocities caused by the Bulgars and enemy Avars he takes the opportunity, provided by chaos, to flee. Many of Voltaires writings are inclusive of the theme of wrongful war. In Charles XII, one of his earlier works, he addresses the lust for conquest and its consequences. At the age of eighteen, Charles XII had learned his talent for conquest and by the end of the book he had lost more than he had gained. (green voltaire) Voltaire finds war to be the same everywhere, his use of the words, “international law,” and, “ natural law,” prove this. “The Bulgars burned the Avars village in accordance with International law.”( ) It was declared, by the old woman, that international law involved searching for diamonds where, “…we women usually allow nothing but the nozzle of an enema.”
I believe what Voltaire meant when he said “Men will not be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest” , was that as long as there are rulers and religion in our world we will never truly be free. As long as we have people who make the rules or laws for us we may never have true freedom. Most of us understand that laws are set in place for our protection and for the safety of others; however, I believe that the level of control that authorities have over people is a little excessive. I also believe that Voltaire meant that religion has control over kings and queens or in our case presidents. Even though kings and queens made decisions concerning their kingdom, they followed the advice and rule of the church.
Enlightenment thinkers wanted tangible, concrete evidence to back their arguments. Pangloss based his arguments on nothing. Voltaire portrays him as naïve, scorning him for not experiencing and studying the world before he becomes firmly planted in his ideas. Even after Pangloss experiences the evil ways of the world, he refuses to change his philosophy. Pangloss would rather preach something attractive to the ear rather than reality. Candide’s servant Cacambo also speaks of false optimism as he tries to console Candide over the loss of Cunegonde. He says that women are never at a loss and that God takes care of them. However, Cunegonde and the Old Woman both experienced brutality and suffering many times over in their lifetime. Cunegonde was bought, sold, and treated like a possession throughout the novel. She and the Old Woman were left vulnerable to molestation and treated like objects. The only hint of optimism in Voltaire’s novel is when Cacambo and Candide stumble upon the country of Eldorado. However, this optimism is quickly distinguished when the two men foolishly trade such a perfect society for jewels, gold, power, and influence. Eldorado is a country in which there is no organized religion, no courts or prisons, no poverty, and complete equality. Even the king is treated as a normal citizen. Candide overlooks the fact that this is a perfect society because of the ideals they practice, and believes that the riches are the most
Typically, wealth is an idea that most people view the same way, but in Voltaire’s El Dorado there is a different view of wealth being expressed that suggests peace in society, rather than the corruption for the desire of money. Voltaire criticizes wealth in “Candide”, by showing that El Dorado is paradise and the perfect society because there is no form of wealth and outside of El Dorado there is lying, cheating, and stealing being committed to gain more riches and valuables, which shows that the normal society in the world is corrupt compared to Voltaire’s image of paradise, El Dorado. The different ways that Voltaire criticizes wealth in “Candide” are how money corrupts people through lying, cheating, or stealing, how money is used to bribe other people in the story to do things that are unjust for society, and how Candide is happier being a poor man than a wealthy one. Voltaire’s El Dorado is peaceful and non-violent, while outside of the society, some people are corrupted by the idea of wealth.
So, although life in El Dorado seems perfect, it would not be the ideal place for everyone. For example, in a conversation with the king of El Dorado, Candide discusses ideals that exist in El Dorado. In the conversation, Candide is very surprised about how harmonious El Dorado is. Candide says, "Have you no monks among you to dispute, to govern, to intrigue, and to burn people who are not the same opinion with themselves (53)." The king replies that everyone on El Dorado has the same opinion. Yet, Candide is not a person who forms his own opinion. Pangloss taught his beliefs to Candide. Candide is used to not having the same opinions as others because not many people agreed with Pangloss's views. A world where everyone agrees with one another might seem a little mundane to him. A mundane world would not be a perfect world for Candide. It seems Candide likes the excitement and the drama that a less perfect world would bring him.