Voltaire 's Candide : A Variety Of Disasters Essay

1769 Words May 30th, 2015 8 Pages
François-Marie Arouet, later known by the name Voltaire, wrote Candide. A variety of disasters influenced Voltaire to write Candide. These disasters included an earthquake in Lisbon in 1755 and the execution of an English Admiral named John Byng (Voltaire 8). Voltaire made these disasters central topics in the plot of Candide. He included an assortment of other historically relevant events in the novel as well. There are several main themes in the novel, including optimism, religious hypocrisy, corruption and greed caused by the power of money, and the pointlessness of philosophical conjecture. Furthermore, the ideas of rape, resurrection, and oppression are also very central to the novel and assist in the development of the main themes. To begin, Candide takes place during the Enlightenment era, an era that marked revolutions in philosophy, science and society. This is evidenced by the focus on philosophy and reason in the novel. Pangloss acted as Candide’s mentor as well as a philosopher. Pangloss’ main focus was that “everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds”, which also encompassed his optimistic character (Voltaire 20). This relates to the Enlightenment era because many philosophers thought that the presence of evil meant that God was not all-powerful or not completely good. Voltaire intended Pangloss’ optimistic nature as a satire, and adopted his philosophical beliefs as jokes as well. His optimistic nature cannot be taken seriously because of…

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