Candide Essay

In: Historical Events

Submitted By trhicks67
Words 688
Pages 3
Tracye Taylor
History 102
January 13, 2008

Candide Essay Assignment

Candide, published in 1759 by Frances Voltaire, sketches a portrait of the human condition from Voltaire’s standpoint during the Age of Enlightenment. As a work of historical literature, Candide is not on the same level as a law, treatise or constitution. Laws and constitutions refer to principles and practices that are binding by a controlling authority; a treatise is more formal and systematic in writing, as in Voltaire: A Treatise on Toleration (1763). This novel is analogous to a personal letter in that it expresses to the reader Voltaire’s personal opposition to certain 18th century Enlightenment ideas. Candide is a fascinating work of fiction; however, the ideals and concepts, as well as the various struggles that Candide endures are very real regarding nobility, philosophy, the church, and cruelty which took place in Early Modern Europe.

Candide is the main character of the novel. He is described in the beginning as being “endowed by nature with the gentlest of characters”. He is a naive and innocent young man who places his faith in the teachings of his tutor Dr. Pangloss. Candide believes the doctor’s conviction that “all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds”. During the course of the story, Candide is cast out into the world and endures a seemingly endless series of encounters with cruelty, hypocrisy, ignorance, and brutality. These encounters eventually reshape Candide’s philosophy on life, as he later on defines optimism to his valet Cacambo as "a mania for insisting that everything is all right when everything is going wrong”. Throughout the novel, however, he remains a person filled with goodness, integrity and generosity. He readily gives money and jewels to various people during his travels, and he honors his promise to marry Cunegonde even…...

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