Essay on Candide, by Voltaire

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“Candide” by Voltaire is a novel that captures the tumultuous life of Candide, the simple, illegitimate son of the baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh’s sister. Living in the castle in Westphalia, Candide’s realm of knowledge encompasses the ideas presented to him by Pangloss, his tutor, who believes that the world they inhabit is the “best of all possible worlds.” (Voltaire 15) Candide carries the optimism of Pangloss’ belief with him as he is banished from his castle and enters an uncharted terrain. In the unfamiliar world of hardship, suffering and poverty, he discovers the inaccuracy of the many ideas Pangloss presented to him. Through the texts “Candide” by Voltaire, “The Allegory of the Cave” by Plato and “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt …show more content…
The idea Pangloss advocates plunks both him and Candide in trouble. On the ship, short of an eye and an ear, and dying from syphilis, Pangloss suggests that individual misfortunes generate greater good. Soon after, the ship is wrecked and the earthquake hits, leaving half the members on-board the ship dead and the other half seriously injured. After the earthquake in Lisbon, Pangloss’ heretical idea infuriates the officer of the Inquisition and leads to both Pangloss and Candide being “bound and taken away, one for having spoken, and the other for having listened with an air of approval” (Voltaire 28). Having seen Jacques, the kind Anabaptist, drown, Pangloss hanged, and heard of Cunegonde being raped and killed, Candide begins disbelieving Pangloss’ belief. The amount of individual misery, pain and misfortune Candide’s acquaintances had encountered did not generate a world that was better; earthquakes still killed people, wars still enraged and women were still raped and soiled. The possibility that the world they lived in was the best of all possible worlds, seemed even more and more improbable as Candide journeyed on to the land of El Dorado. A land free of conflict and rich in wealth, El Dorado was the best of all possible worlds. Yet, if this land did not extend its realms to include the whole world, how could the world they lived in be the best of all possible worlds?
Pangloss’ philosophies are juxtaposed in the storylines of both Plato’s

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