The Idea Of Optimism In Voltaire's 'Candide'

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Voltaire begins Candide by describing the images of Candide’s house, a beautiful castle in Baron of Wesphalia. The novel has not even begun and there is already a gossip about Candide’s potential to have had an unlawful son of the Baroness. Candide is a character of complete naïveté and dullness and is always influenced by other characters of greater personality. He is, however, a man of the kindest and caring heart and is always willing to help others in danger such as Jacques when he was almost executed. In the beginning, he is depicted as incredibly innocent, consumed with the philosophies and teachings of his tutor, Pangloss. Pangloss engraved in the mind of Candide “everything in the world is for the best.” The unfortunate day when Candide was ostracized from the glamorous castle was when the Baron found Candide and his beautiful daughter, Cunegonde kissing. After experiencing eviction, drafting into the King of Bulgars’ army, escaping to Holland, and meeting Pangloss on a street, Pangloss ultimately discovers that Cunegonde, his lover, has been raped and…show more content…
One of the major themes of Candide is the ludicrous idea of optimism. From the beginning, Pangloss and Candide are seen pondering the idea that everything is for the best. However, this is only true of the minds of the naïveté. Many philosophers at the time believed that God is perfect and thus, he also created a perfect world. In contrast to their widely known belief, Voltaire paints the pictures and events of an imperfect world to satirically mock those philosophers’ thinking. Pangloss and Candide are described to experience many close deaths, a flood, an earthquake, raping, torturing, beatings, diseases, and even disloyalty. Although Pangloss seems to use the idea of optimism to justify these unbearable and horrific events, it almost seems like nonsense after several misfortunate

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