Candide Essay Examples

Essays on Candide

Candide is a French mockery published by Voltaire, a philosopher during the Age of Enlightenment. The enlightenment is defined by Merriam Webster dictionary as a philosophical movement of the 18th century marked by a rejection of traditional social, religious, and political ideas and an emphasis on rationalism.

An Analysis of the Doctrine of Work in Candide, a Novel by Voltaire
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Voltaire’s classic tale Candide (1759) satirizes the idea of philosophical Optimism, according to which we live in the best of all possible worlds, and all evil results in universal good. In Candide, Candide, a young man who is thrown out of a perfect life in a baron’s castle for kissing his daughter, the beautiful Cunégonde, makes his way throughout the world and experiences the evils of war, natural disasters, and the general cruelty of man that comes with it. During…...
The Caricature of Women in Candide 
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To the modern reader, the women characters of Voltaire’s Candide, or Optimism – Paquette, Cunégonde, and the Old Woman – are exaggerations of women at best. Absolutely horrible things happen to them and they go to extremes just to survive their life. They are expected to be a beautiful sexual object. However, to readers during the eighteenth century, this caricature would not be so shocking. That is, women during the time were expected to be both innocent (to satisfy men’s…...
Age of Enlightenment and Romantic
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During the Age of Enlightenment the major style was Rococo and artist expression centered on the theme "the pursuit of pleasure. " This is most evident in The Swing, painted by Jean-Honore Fragonard in 1769. Sculpture in the Age of Enlightenment wasn't much different than the paintings. Just as in the paintings it centered on pleasure. This is clearly seen in the sculpture The Intoxication of Wine, by Clodion in 1775, the intimate playfulness of the individuals as they frolic…...
AgeCandideMozartThe Enlightenment
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Compare Hamlet with Candide
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Everyday heroes are now easily made because of the standards, which used to be high, are now low. Anyone can become a hero in many different ways. One could climb into a tree and save a cat in distress, or even call 911 for someone who needs help. However a hero in mythology and legend is a man often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for bold exploits, In the 4th century B. C.…...
AristotleCandideHamletTragic Hero
Review of Tartuffe By Moliere
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Literary works often reveal their authors' views on particular social issues. Tartuffe (1669), a play by Moli�re, and Candide (1759), a philosophical tale by Voltaire, both deal with the question of religion in society. Tartuffe is a satire on the attitudes of the bourgeoisie toward religion in seventeenth-century France. Moli�re firmly believes in religious moderation and condemns religious hypocrisy and fanaticism. Published almost a century later, Voltaire's Candide satirizes eighteenth-century European society by criticizing the hypocrisy of the clergy. As…...
Analysis of themes like suffering, religion and love in two different world literature novels
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Pieces of world literature have many similarities and differences that exist due to the cultures and time periods or literary eras during which the books were written. In addition, the way the writer thinks and how he has lived his life will impact the treatment of these topics. The similarities in these books are generated because of themes that unite them, such as love, religion, trust, and friendship, which create the body of a story. Dostoyevsky and Voltaire are two…...
CandideCrime And PunishmentLoveNovelsReligionSalvation
Fransois-Marie Arouet
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Fransois-Marie Arouet better known as Voltaire was born in France, and he was known as an enlightenment author. In 1759 he published the story "Candide". It is a story of a young man who went through many mishaps but kept his faith and positive attitude. The novel is a criticism of the French culture and state of religions during this era. There were many conflicts among religious groups in France during the time the book was written. Voltaire used the…...
A Thesis Statement on the novel Candide by Voltaire
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Not everything is all for the best. The novel Candide by Voltaire delved into the miseries of men, politics and religion where every unfortunate event that happens to the individual is to be accepted since it is all for the best. Many times in the novel, Candide’s esteemed professor, Pangloss remarked that “Everything is all for the best”. For his part, Voltaire seems to be questioning the concept of fatalism. Fatalism is the view that individuals are powerless to do…...
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Throughout his novel Candide, Voltaire utilized satire, characterization, and techniques of exaggeration and contrast to attack Candide's two-dimensional outlook on life and to disprove the overly optimistic philosophy that Candide and Pangloss represent. While the experiences of Candide and Pangloss conflict dramatically with this philosophy, both choose to maintain their beliefs in this regard. Voltaire uses Candide as a tool to accuse the various aspects of his zeitgeist. Through his techniques, he attacks multiple points of view and even the…...
Optimism In Voltaire’s Candide
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Gottfried Leibniz was, among other things, a philosopher and was best known for his philosophy on optimism. Leibniz believed that there existed a supernatural being who created and controlled the world. He further espoused that this being was perfect and being a perfect being could not make anything imperfect. Leibniz was himself a mathematician and portrayed his image of God to be a mathematician as well. This being the case, Leibniz believed that God would balance out all things in…...
Fiction Vs. Reality: A comparison of themes in “Tartuffe” and “Candide”
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When reading a work of fiction, one has to be aware of different writing styles that will clue you into the information that the author wants one to pick up on. In the works, Moliere's "Tartuffe" and Voltaire's "Candide" the themes of appearance vs. reality can be found. I will be discussing this theme which is both obvious and subtle depending on the author. I will be discussing the theme of appearance vs. reality. In "Tartuffe", the character "Tartuffe" is…...
Aphra Bhen’s Oroonoko “The royal Slave” and “Candide, Or Optimism”
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Aphra Bhen was a prolific female playwright and author during the restoration period of English history. Bhen herself stood by the power of the monarchy. Her book '_Oroonoko_' has hints within the text that royalty is seen as set apart from the rest of society; and that rank is the natural order of things. Though little is really known about Behn's early years, evidence suggests that she may have had a Catholic upbringing; (1) however, in considering the text for…...
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Candide Charcacters and Quotes

In the following paragraphs I will be discussing the characters and what they represented in the novel, a few themes presented in the book, and important quotations from Candide.

Five characters are of particular interest. Candide was the main character that spent most of his time at the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh kingdom; Pangloss was the professor in the Baron kingdom and he believed the Baron’s kingdom was the most beautiful of them all; Cunegonde was the woman that Candide was in love with and wanted to marry someday; the unnamed old woman took Candide off the streets and cared for him until he got stronger; and Martin was one of Candide’s best friends in the book that he met while sailing. Candide was suspected to have been the son of Baron’s sister. He started out being an optimistic young man but after experiencing what the world is like he soon turned into a slightly pessimistic person because of the influences of outside factors and other characters.

At the end, Candide said he wanted to go and tend the garden because productive work is the only way to function in this violent and corrupt world. There is no such thing as a perfect world. Pangloss was the oracle of the Baron. He believed in and exaggerated many philosophical ideas, such as there is no effect without a cause. No matter what Pangloss experienced and heard, he remained faithful to his beliefs. Cunegonde was the sister of the Baron and was neither intelligent nor complex. The unnamed old woman cared for Cunegonde and Candide in Lisbon. She was cynical about human nature but did not give in to self-pity. The unnamed old woman was wise, loyal, and practical. The final character I will mention is Martin, who was more knowledgeable than Pangloss and Candide, had a more reasonable take on the world, and was a pessimist about philosophical ideas. Martin expected nothing but the worst and had a hard time seeing the world as what it could be. I do feel like Martin is Voltaire’s way of voicing his opinion through Candide. Several other characters appear in supporting roles. Cacambo was Candide’s valet when Candide was traveling to South America.

Cacambo was highly intelligent and morally honest; Pococurante was an amazing collector of art and literature works but he was bored with life even though he seemed to have everything; Brother Giraflee parents forced him to become a monk so he could enlarge his brother’s wealth and he pays for Paquette’s services; and Paquette was the wench who waited on the noble Baroness.

There were several themes in Candide revolved around optimism, philosophical speculations, religion, money, and power but I will only mention two that had the greatest impact on me. The first theme was the outrageous amount of optimism that was portrayed by Pangloss and Candide in the beginning. Pangloss mentioned multiple times that God is perfect therefore the world He created also must be perfect, leading Pangloss to claim, “syphilis needed to be transmitted from the Americas to Europe so that Europeans could enjoy New World delicacies such as chocolate,” an absurd statement that reflects Voltaire’s view of the absurdity of enlightened thinking of the period. In the beginning of the novel Candide believed in Pangloss’s optimistic ideas about the world and its Creator but as Candide started the experience what the world was like, he soon changed his way of seeing it. The second theme that stuck out was the dishonesty of religion as portrayed by other characters: the unnamed old woman was the daughter of the Pope, the Catholic Inquisitor who has a mistress, the Franciscan friar who was a jewel thief, and some societies that carried out inhumane campaigns of religious oppression against those who did not agree with their beliefs. The final theme that stood out to me was that money could buy a person’s way out of any troubled situation but never seemed to make people fully happy.

Eldorado was where Candide and Cacambo acquired the treasures of the world. Even though there were so many treasures there, Candide soon wanted to leave because he was not happy with just the money; he wanted Cunegonde to be his wife. Candide was unhappier as a wealthy man, seeing his wealth disappear into the hands of undeserving people which tested his optimism. During Candide’s travels as a wealthy man, he made many friends but rarely were they true friends. Two examples that demonstrate this idea from Candide on Project Guttenberg was “Pococurante’s money drove him to such world-weary boredom that he could not appreciate great art” and “cash gift to Brother Giroflee and Paquette drives them quickly to the last stages of misery”. Money creates at least as many problems as it solves in life.

Throughout Candide there were a few quotations that I found to be important. In this paragraph I am going to break them down a little more. The first quotation is from Pangloss in chapter one of Candide, “It is demonstrable that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for all being created for an end, all is necessarily for the best end. Observe, that the nose has been formed to bear spectacles—thus we have spectacles. Legs are visibly designed for stockings and we have stockings. Stones were made to be hewn, and to construct castles—therefore my lord has a magnificent castle; for the greatest baron in the province ought to be the best lodged. Pigs were made to be eaten—therefore we eat pork all the year round. Consequently, they who assert that all is well have said a foolish thing, they should have said all is for the best”. Voltaire started out by putting this quotation under attack by all the characters experienced throughout the rest of the novel. This quotation was meant to resemble the flaws Voltaire saw in the Enlightenment philosophers’ way of thinking. The second quotation is from chapter twelve, “hundred times I wanted to kill myself, but always I loved life more”. In the time of Voltaire, the Catholic church preached that God forbade suicide and those who did commit suicide would spend eternity in hell.

Voltaire’s Thoughts about the Enlightenment

This novel did a phenomenal job describing what Voltaire thought about the Enlightenment period during the 17th and 18th century. In the previous paragraphs I discussed more information about the characters, three important themes mentioned throughout the novel, and three of my favorite quotations with a brief description of each in the novel Candide.

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