Voltaire 's View Of The Enlightenment And Old Regime Essay

843 Words Sep 9th, 2015 4 Pages
In Candide, Voltaire is satirizing optimism but cannot help it shining through in parts of his story, undermining his extreme criticism of Leibniz optimism as portrayed by Pangloss. Candide’s embrace of a determined optimism, despite lampooning it through a series of unfortunate events, is a critique of Voltaire’s own argument. This can be proven by explaining the religious and social critiques of the book with relevance to the Enlightenment and Old Regime.
In Candide, the characters must overcome many struggles, including rape, torture, shipwrecks and earthquakes. Their situations are exacerbated by the unending nature of their misfortunes, seemingly coming one after another after another. The titular Candide suffers extreme cruelty and adversity from humans and nature alike. For example, he barely survives a shipwreck before arriving to earthquakes and fire in Lisbon. With very little strength left Candide and Pangloss search through the ruins of Lisbon to find nourishment before some of the citizens, whom they had helped, give them a meal, one that was the best for what they still had left. In the mist of eating, the inquisition officer questions the belief of original sin and free will. In that moment, the last thing they expected happens, as the officer and his henchman torture him. Candide also suffered indirectly, for instance, when he had to hear the horrible story of the devastation of his true love Cunegonde. Also, repeatedly through the book he had to view…

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