Essay Paper on Philosophies in Voltaire’s Candide
Eldorado is Voltaire’s ideal world, one that he knew could never exist, but could provide him with an agent to point out sad failings of the real world. In Eldorado, every person is on an equal, class levels don’t exist, and crime is nonexistent. In the novel, when Candide sees all of the riches that the Eldoradans inhabit, he is so taken aback by their lack of real interest in it all, he can’t understand why they live the way they do. He also uses his philosophy of the utopian society to show how very far short of being perfect our culture falls. He uses it to contrast the experiences that Candide had throughout his journeys.
Candide’s observance of the horrors of war, devesting earthquakes, the Inquisition in Portugal, and tyranny are there to represent real world dilemmas, while Eldorado represents an oasis of perfection in the real world. Eldorado is a heaven on Earth and something unattainable by the society of Voltaire’s day. It can be argued though that because everyone is so wealthy and so happy, there would be absolutely no diversity. Everyone is the same and would be virtual robots living in a land of plenty. Voltaire’s philosophy of the Utopia represents many things in Candide , all of which were criticism of the real world.
The second philosophy is that of optimism. In this sense, Voltaire decides to criticize the theory of optimism, rather than support it. Voltaire’s primary purpose in writing Candide was to demolish the theory of optimism. The formula ” best of all possible worlds ” appears again and again only to be disproved with satire and irony. Oftentimes, after experiencing terrible suffering and real danger, the immediate reaction is that Doctor Panglos might possibly begin to doubt his own philosophy. For example, when Candide finds out that the Oreillons labeled him a Jesuit and were planning to roast or boil and then eat him, his immediate reaction was: ” What would Professor Panglos say if he had seen how unsophisticated nature behaves? No doubt all is for the best, but I must say it is very cruel to have lost Lady Cunegonde and to be skewed by the Oreillons. “
Here at the end, Voltaire adds the doubt that Candide is having in Panglos’s optimistic philosophy at the moment he sees death staring him right in the face. In another instance, after Candide listened to the old woman tell of the horrible ordeals she had been through, he says: ” It is great pity, that the at an auto-da-fe’ was broken and our sagacious Panglos hanged: for otherwise he would have made some remarkable observations on the moral and physical evils which infest the earth and sea, and with all due respect to him I should have made bold to offer a few objections. “
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