Optimism In Candide

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In the novel Candide, the protagonist Candide strives to believe that despite all of life's obstacles, "everything is for the best." However, Voltaire disagrees to this argument and uses Pangloss' fruitful optimism teachings as a tool to describe how everything was not for the best. Bad things still do happen, even if they don't better the whole. At the end of Chapter 17 (Voltaire 382), Candide and Cacambo are in Eldorado and they observe “What is this country, then, said they to one another, unknown to the rest of the world, and where nature itself is so different from our own?....things went badly in Westphalia.” Voltaire’s portrait of Eldorado is optimistic, and he uses this positive illustration of a virtually nonexistent utopia to ridicule the optimism philosophy of the Enlightenment.…show more content…
So few people have ever or even will be able to go to such an ideal place. The cultures and traditions of the people were so different than anywhere else, as described by Candide when he says, "where nature itself is so different from our own" (Voltaire 382). Voltaire first describes it through Candide’s eyes by viewing the people, how attractive they were, and the joy of the children running and playing (Voltaire 381). Voltaire’s portrait differs from many on the existence of Eldorado. For most, Eldorado was perceived to be a city of gold, with gold as a precious metal. In contrast, Voltaire paints a picture of gold within the people. In this community, the denizens live in harmony, have no starvation, endure no conflicts among the people, and don't experience thievery- a perfect golden society. Eldorado is a society that is past greed and pettiness, and instead strives for the betterment of all
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