On Votaire S Candide Essay, Research Paper
Voltaire s Candide is a driving commentary on the human condition its natural state of frailty, the result of which is compilation of brittle social, political and personal frameworks. The author, whose comment that disbelief is the basis of wisdom (Weber s lecture), blemishes the dominating ideal of the 18th Century optimism, defying it in the most tragic of forms human suffering. Voltaire s witticisms, irony and sarcasm reverse the prevailing thought of his day, that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds and on the contrary, through accounts of the ludicrous tortures and tragedies of his characters Candide, Cunegonde, Dr. Pangloss, the old woman, Martin, the Baron (and many others), conveys the antithesis that all goes wrong with us, and that no one knows his place in society or his proper employment (p. 104).
The recurring theme of trust in Providence (p. 74) throughout the story, loudly whispers Voltaire s opposition to the Church, the priests, and religious dogmas. With undying faith in destiny and God s mercy, Candide and his company traveled throughout the world, paradoxically encountering themselves in constant, often near-death troubles. Furthermore, the rebellion against the ridicule of religious standards is evident in Candide and Baron s accounts of swimming together with a Mussulman in the river and their severe lashes punishment. I did not know that it was a capital offense for a Christian to be found naked with a young Mussulman (p. 134). Such pointless religious ideology is an excellent depiction of Votaire s anger with the Church s authority.
The utopian world that Candide encountered in Eldorado versus the crazed, unjust, painful, immoral, distorted and bloody rest of the world France, England, Italy, etc. is, too, symbolic of Voltaire s disapproval of the ruling governments of the 18th Century. While praising Eldorado for its people s kindness and the country s overall order he [Candide] inquired whether there were any prisons, and his guide answered no (p. 82), the author discreetly condemns the chaos overturning all of Europe and endless warfare of man against man. Hence, the outcry to thwart political and social battles of vastly expanding 18th Century societies and establish order is dramatically expressed by Voltaire.
Voltaire, as did many of his contemporaries Montesquieu, Johnson, Rousseau, Hume and others, had a lot to say about human nature and the types of laws/orders and governments we established discussing both the benefits and pitfalls of all human constructs. I found it interesting that most of these philosophers had common themes, yet often contradicting conceptions of how religion enters our lives, what forms of government are best, how to preserve the social order all driven by a desire to establish a better world. Why? Perhaps, it is because we constantly feel the need to achieve for the better , and better is unattainable, as it has no limits. Yet giving up hope and simply surrendering to the idea that all is for the best would leave us questioning: Then why bother with anything? We need to cultivate our best that s what the Enlightenment thinkers presented in their writings.