Candide Essay, Research Paper
Voltaire attacked the church, the state, philosophy and the governing class. He spent most of his
life dodging punishment for his satirical tongue. Voltaire wrote against religious persecution,
criticized the powerful individuals and condemned their institutions. Voltaire uses mockery in
his book Candide to express his bitterness towards nobility, philosophy, the church, and
Throughout the book we come across a lot of characters. One in which is a baron
named Thunder-ten-tronckn. An awful name to begin with, but this is Voltaire s way of
mocking pretensions nobility. He is not an especially rich baron, but a baron non the less, who
wastes most of his time living off the labor of others. The only justification for his position as
baron, is merely through birth. He is not noble in any sense of the words meaning. But it is the
aristocratic belief that greatness stays within the family. The baron s sister, for example,
wouldn t marry Candide s father because he did not have enough quarterings on his coat of
arms. Voltaire is trying to imply that there is no difference between the common people and the
nobles. Ranking does not make you a better person.
Candide spends his childhood in a castle with a gentleman named Pangloss.
Pangloss is a philosopher that believes this is the best of all possible worlds and that everything
is for the best. The name of his school is called metaphysico-theologo-cosmolonigology.
Voltaire criticizes this school because if the world is so great and everything is for the best, why
then are people suffering. The other big joke towards Pangloss philosophical views is that
Pangloss lives in a confined castle. He tries to talk about the world around him, but knows little
When Candide leaves the castles he is thrown into the army. Candide goes from
believe Pangloss s philosophy to seeing the world full of evil. This is his first hands-on
experience of the world. He sees how the powerful nobles start wars and it is the soldiers on the
field fighting the battles. He sees that people are suffering from war and poverty and the
churches do nothing to help their people.
Votaire s use of mockery is very intense. Some may be on the exaggerated side,
but all and all it is to be believed. Today we see more and more cases of priests robbing from the
churches or molesting young child. When we read about the Franciscan who steals Cunegund s
jewelry, it isn t far fetched. There are both good and evil in this world. Coming from nobility or
joining the priesthood, doesn t categorize you as a good person. Only through ones actions can
determine the good of the individual. Again and again Candide suggests that thought alone does
not change social conditions. And it doesn t.