The Dangers Of Optimism In Voltaire's Candide

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Voltaire is a well-known author from the latter portion of the 1700’s. In 1759, Voltaire’s Candide was published. This story is very much so still alive today. In this story, Candide is one of the main characters. He is somewhat a bit inexperienced and a trusting man, despite all the struggles that life throws at him. At the beginning of this story, Candide is kicked out of his home for kissing Cunegonde, who is supposedly his true love. Despite every crazy trial that Candide encounters in his life, he remains an optimistic man. The optimism that is used by him could be an example to the readers. Voltaire not only shows the good side of optimism, but he also shows the dangerous side optimistic world. There are different types of tones and often …show more content…
The two themes that seem to be the main ones are belief and naïveté. Destructive optimism is also a theme that is part of the character’s personality. Candide seems to really have both themes embodied because his belief in Pangloss’ teachings pretty much causes him to suffer through countless disasters until he agrees to adopt another philosophy. Mocking with a purpose or “satire” is taken a little further. Candide then decides to adopt a new theory. This seems like it could be an improvement for Candide, but all it really does is makes his naïve self show a little more. The incapacity to adopt a new philosophy shows Candide’s inexperience and naïve side in the world. Candide’s stupidity is the root of all the dangers that are behind optimism. After his home being destroyed by the Army, Candide still trusts in them. Cunegonde, who is Candide’s “true” love, is raped and beaten and he still remains trusting. Each disaster Candide goes through should make his beliefs weaken, but instead, his trust only grows. A disaster can also go the other way around. Disaster or trials can make a person’s faith suffer and it may never be the same again. An example of this would be the Jews in the Holocaust (Signer 118). Because of how the Jews were treated, many of them stopped believing in God. Candide seems pretty unaware of the faults in optimism. The irony used here is brought up on several different occasions. It almost seems as if this sequence of trial happens because Candide is so naïve. The ongoing trials really start to stress what Voltaire is trying to tell us as readers. Pangloss really beings to personify optimism since he is the true force behind the beliefs of Candide in the subject of “everything happens for a reason.” Pangloss is the reason for Candide’s beliefs. Pangloss contracts syphilis and it basically gnaws his body away. Later, he is hung

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