Voltaire's Candide: Doctrine Of Optimism

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Joseph Salazar English 232 Literary Essay 12 October 2015 Analysis of Voltaire’s Candide In his suggestive satirical masterpiece, Candide, Voltaire makes a mockery of those who believe what they are told without questioning it, or in other words, follow Leibnitzian optimism. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz was a seventeenth century German polymath and philosopher who’s doctrine of optimism holds that our world is the best of all those possible. Candide, the protagonist after whom the work is titled, undergoes a hero’s journey throughout which he encounters many challenges and temptations, none of which thwart his Leibnitzian optimism, and he serves as an example to readers of why naivety and unquestioning credence will only lead to trouble.…show more content…
Also present in the story are the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and the Seven Years War, both of which partook in a time when the belief that everything that happened was for the best was very prominent due to religion; Voltaire found this not only ignorant, but dangerous, as it prevented people from thinking for themselves. His style of narration, detached and matter-of-factly, creates a feeling of disdain towards the characters that is intended to cause the audience to look down upon radical optimists and force them to want to think for themselves before blindly accepting anything that they are told. Voltaire also directly embodies two of his primary themes into the two characters mentioned above, childlike naïveté and destructive optimism. The ignorance that fuels this type of optimism is where the danger lies as it prevents rational, informed thinking. The continuous loop of disasters that Candide finds himself in until almost the very end is directly fueled by this and the repetition of misfortune is meant to emphasize the warning that Voltaire is trying to make his audience aware…show more content…
His use of third person encourages readers to form their own attitudes and opinions about the subjects in the piece, and with aid from the satirical elements allows them to enjoy the work while still sending a clear message and providing a sort of mirror into which his readers are able to reflect. Voltaire’s Candide although hugely influential and a masterpiece to say the least, was still not enough to lead the world to be an “El Dorado,” and thus, will be a very necessary warning for many years and generations to

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