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Optimism Like A Farce In Candide - Research Paper Example

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The writer of the paper "Optimism Like A Farce In Candide" detailed analyzes Voltaire's novel "Candide". Voltaire shows that people cannot enjoy the best of all worlds when nature and fate are fickle-minded elements that can reverse fortunes immediately…
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Optimism Like A Farce In Candide
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Download file to see previous pages Pangloss justifies that the causes of people’s tribulations should be seen as the means of producing the best of all worlds. After Candide’s brief kiss with Cunegonde, however, life goes downhill for him, as well as the other main characters, such as Pangloss. Candide’s journey proves that this is not the “best of all possible worlds,” or that optimism is a farce, because disasters can change fortunes in an instant, the political systems of the world are corrupted, people are immoral and stupid, and society is filled with cruel institutions; thus, the only best world is the one that people make on their own, by maximizing their own abilities and resources.
Candide and Pangloss suffer several natural calamities that pushed them to near-death experiences. They were shipwrecked, and when they reached land, they experienced a horrendous earthquake. People blamed them and other people’s wicked doings for the earthquake and Candide and Pangloss almost died from their punishments. Second, during their numerous journeys, they experienced being stolen from or deceived. The old woman, the maid of Cunegonde, also suffers from numerous natural mishaps that she grew old without ever regaining her former social stature. Marsh highlights that the old woman depicts the transition from “beauty to ugliness” and “sin to grace”. This old woman is Voltaire’s symbol for the uncertainty of life. Vicissitudes can happen anytime because people cannot control nature and destinies....
Politics and its systems are corrupt and they eradicate the possibility of achieving the “best of all possible worlds.” Watts argues that this belief comes from Voltaire’s awareness of “Eurocentricism” that does not offer “alternative systems of war and peace, notions of friend and enemy” (343). Wars are one of the most senseless outcomes of political decisions. Chapter three of “Candide” depicts that wars produce the worst results for people who do not even choose to be at war- the ordinary masses. After Candide deserts the Bulgarians, he sees the numerous negative consequences of the war: “The earth was strewed with brains, arms, and legs” (Voltaire 10). Old men and women, who have survived, weep inconsolably over their missing body parts and burnt properties, while their daughters are either raped or killed or mostly both (Voltaire 10). What is more disconcerting is that the actions and intentions of war are arbitrary and stupid. When Candide finds Pangloss, the latter relates how “vengeance” (Voltaire 14) drives the war. The Bulgarians attacked the Baron’s lands and the Abares reaps revenge by replicating what the Bulgarians did to the Bulgarian’s baron. Hence, when politics are ruled by human stupidity and avarice, achieving the best world can only be a dream. The best of all worlds cannot be waiting in the open, because people are evil and dim-witted. Pangloss makes the mistake of making love with a wench, which gives him syphilis. Despite what happens to him, he retains his optimism by saying that the cause of his condition is “a necessary ingredient in the best of worlds,” in the same way that Columbus, by virtue of getting the same disease, has allowed present generations to enjoy ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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