Satire In Candide

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Written by Voltaire during the period of the Enlightenment, Candide is a satire known for its many criticisms of its author’s contemporary society. During Voltaire’s lifetime, majority of France was in crushing poverty, and the aristocracy ruled with an iron fist. Writing novels was the best way to access the upper classes, for books were a sign of one’s prosperity. Since Voltaire was born in the middle class, he had seen both wealth and poverty, and novels allowed him to get his ideas about money across to the upper classes. Through Voltaire’s portrayal of wealth in his satire Candide, Voltaire criticizes his society’s view of wealth and the pursuit thereof, exploring the idea that when wealth is held in the wrong regard, it cannot make one’s…show more content…
The children play with gold, rubies, and emeralds as if they are worthless rocks. Candide, mistakenly thinking that the toys are of great worth, tries to return the jewels, but “the village school master smiled [and] dropped them on the ground” (64). The first village that Candide and Cacambo happen upon is considered by its residents to be a “poor village”, yet the first house of the village is “built like a European palace” (63, 64). Eldorado is the land that is the closest to “the best of all possible worlds” that Candide finds himself in throughout the entire story, yet the dust of their roads is considered very valuable in the lands outside of it. The people of Eldorado have better lives because they do not care about money in the same way that the people of the outside world do. Not only is their idea of money different from Candide’s but the community seems to have no troubles. When Candide asks to see the law courts, he is told that Eldorado does not have any because there are no lawsuits. There also are no prisons. They are not bothered with violence or greed, because they have a different outlook on life. Voltaire’s use of Eldorado highlights the problems within his own society, specifically the trouble with greed and the upper class’ selfishness. While the people of Eldorado are not greedy, Candide most certainly is so, as he…show more content…
A great number of their sheep, which are laden with riches, die and “after they had traveled for a hundred days, only two sheep were left” (72). The wealth that is left does not solve their problems though, in contrast it almost brings more obstacles into Candide’s path. After being flippant about the price of passage, Candide becomes a victim of robbery. A Dutch captain, Vanderdendur, cheats Candide out of his sheep and Candide must find other passage to Paris. Once Candide and another one of his companions, Martin, arrive in Paris they are again targeted for being rich, because “[Candide] wore an enormaous diamond, and since a prodigiously heavy strongbox had been noticed among his baggage, he was immediately surrounded by two doctors he had not sent for [and]several intimate friends who would not leave him” (82). Rather than being able to continue his search for Cunegonde, Candide becomes unwell and “with the aid of medicines and bloodlettings, Candide’s illness became serious” (82). Additionally, the Abbé of Périgord and the Marquise de Parolignac act as further distractions simply because he’s wealthy. By having Candide’s wealth bring him more problems than solutions, Voltaire demonstrates that when Candide holding wealth in the wrong regard, that is he sees it as his solution to his happiness, his life is not only worse off, but he is hindered from

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