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Candide, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 273

Essay

The characters Candide encounters help express Voltaire’s personal criticisms of contemporary French society of the 1800s. How one of these minor characters acts as a spokesman for Voltaire’s complaints about French culture is discussed. It also underscores the significance of placing a study of culture within historical contexts. In this case, it exposes some of the intellectual, religious, political, and socio-economic presuppositions of the time.

In Chapter 28, Pangloss expresses his unrelenting belief that everything happens for the best (What Befell Candide, Cunegund, Pangloss, Martin, etc.). Having heard his horrific story, there was never a point where it seemed the story would diverge from its onset before Pangloss uttered his allegiance to the idea that everything happens for a good reason. Voltaire was purposely unsuccessful at convincing the reader of the validity of the ending. Along with Pangloss’s claim to be a philosopher (a lover of wisdom, a freethinker), it was absurd that he would still champion the voice of Leibnitz given what he had been through. A major development in world culture from the Renaissance to the contemporary period is the ease with which sensibilities perceive violent acts.

The characters Candide encounters helped express Voltaire’s personal criticisms of contemporary French society of the 1800s. How one of these minor characters acts as a spokesman for Voltaire’s complaints about French culture has been discussed. Voltaire’s message about respecting empirical realities in opposition to strict idealism was one of the major dovetails in collective Occidental thinking at that time. Ultimately, this laizzes faire attitude was Voltaire’s major criticism of French culture.

References

Voltaire. (n.d.). What Befell Candide, Cunegund, Pangloss, Martin, etc. In Candide (Chapter 28). Retrieved from http://www.literature.org/authors/voltaire/candide/chapter-28.html

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