Candide, Optimism And What Voltaire Really Meant Essay

704 Words Sep 9th, 2014 3 Pages
Candide, Optimism and what Voltaire really meant
François-Marie Arouet is one of literature’s greatest minds. Voltaire, his famous pen name was the personification of the Enlightenment. Voltaire was a writer too great to be intimidated by the powerful; he regularly went after the church, kings and even his contemporaries. Voltaire’s courageous attacks and sharp wit were never more on display than in his magnum opus, Candide or Optimism. Biting, intelligent and often time’s quite humorous Voltaire’s satire felt nothing was sacred in 18th century Europe. At the novels core however, Voltaire challenged the optimism of Alexander Pope and Gottfried Leibnitz. Since its publication many have wondered what exactly Voltaire purposed to be the solution, if any, to the question of evil in this world. In the following essay I will examine Alexander Pope’s “ESSAY ON MAN” to provide context for Voltaire’s conclusion. I will also briefly explore Voltaire’s beliefs on the nature of God. Finally, I will specifically analyze the last few paragraphs of Candide, ultimately demonstrating that Voltaire does believe evil exists within our world and its man’s duty to make it a better place.
Alexander Pope’s great poem “ESSAY ON MAN” advocates a completely optimistic view of our world, all interpreted evils are either truly good or are necessary to maintain its divinely inspired harmony. In the poem, Pope explains the universe to be orderly and a reflection of our perfect creator. It is easy for…

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