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Essay/Term paper: Voltaire's candide through my present day view

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History

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The world as I see it is not perfect. In this present day and age there are some people that like to believe that god created a beautiful planet, but I believe the devil should receive some credit for its creation also. One of the world"s greatest satires, Candide by Voltaire, some characters feel the same way that I do. However others do not. Martin, a skeptic thinks this is not "the best of all possible worlds" ("Candide"102), as Dr. Pangloss would say. My present worldview is more close to the view of the eighteenth century character Martin, in the book Candide. Martin, an old philosopher who embarked with candide shows strong pessimistic views. Candide is pretty much a follower and is not a very intelligent man. He looks up to Dr. Pangloss, his mentor. I disagree with candide"s point of view on life, because he is a follower of another man and doesn"t know how to live his own life.

Through out the book Candide many of the characters die horrible deaths. The entire book is mainly a satire attacking simple human follies and frailties. The vice being ironically attacked here is optomisticism. Most of the characters are killed brutally or hurt fiercely for some of the most stupid reasons. One incident from the book involves Candide reuniting with his old master dr. Pangloss. Early in the book Candide reunites with Dr. Pangloss scabbed, spitting out teeth, and choking. Pangloss is diseased with syphilis. Pangloss obtained this disease from a slave girl named Paquette. This disease was brought from America with Christopher Columbus. "It was a a thing unavoidable, a neccessary ingredient in the best of all worlds ... "(Candide8). This is one of the experiences that candide goes trough that makes it hard to believe that this was the best of all possible worlds, as Pangloss constantly assures him. Personally, I would accept this situation. This world is plagued with pestilences of great measure. I have had friends die of diseases and I just accept the fact that it happens.

Earlier Candide falls in love with a woman named Cunegonde. Cunegonde dies, but comes back later on in the book. From meeting with Pangloss, Candide learns that Cunegonde died earlier. In a situation like that I would react as Candide did. However, death is a part of life. Sadly, in real life people just don"t come back a couple of weeks later. I have had many friends and family die, and I know how that feels. Later on in the book, in France (Candide XXII), Candide cheated on Cunegonde while she was supposedly sick in a hotel. It turned out that the woman in the bed was not Cunegonde. If I were in a scenario like that, where I am faced with a chance to cheat on a woman I loved I probably would not do it. I have cheated on various girlfriends before, but I hardly loved any of them. That is how messed up this world is.

In Europe, Candide ran in a guantlet in Bulgaria. He was beat countless times by men. This situation shows how he is a follower, and a foolish man for going through something harmfull for no reason.

"Instantly they fettered him, and carried him away to the regiment. ...and they give him thirty blows with a cudgel. The next day he did this exercise a little less badly, and he received twenty blows. The following day they gave him only ten, and he was regarded by his comrades as a prodigy.(Candide 4)"

This is quite the opposite of Dr. Pangloss"s views. Pangloss would object to the beatings. I personally wouldn"t want to get beat for anything. However, I have friends who joined gangs, and gone through "beat downs" just to get in. It is called being "jumped in." I don"t believe in following anyone into anything that would harm me.

Martin, the skeptic, is the man in this book I can relate to. Martin is an old philosopher that embarks with Candide for Bordeaux (Candide XX). Candide interviewed martin on a quest after getting the Dutch captain to take them from Surinam Italy. Candide constantly asks questions to understand Martin. Candide thinks martin is evil. Later on, the dutch skipper robbed Candide blind of gold and diamonds from El Dorado and his sheep. This shows the ailment of honesty in man. In a situation like this, where I would have to bargain with a man to take me somewhere, I would go somewhere else and ask someone else. If all else fails I would take myself. I trust no one. Furthermore, I couldn"t keep offering one man money to do something that he could do out of the kindness of his heart.

Later on in the book, Candide and Martin are at sea. They witness a battle and one of candide"s sheep recovers some of his stolen goods. This can be proven as an optimistic view of the current situation, but I still agree with Martin"s Skeptic view.

Off the coast of England, Candide and Martin witnessed an Admiral getting shot. In Europe they kill people to set examples or motivate people. I can see how this works, and why they do it. In a situation like that I wouldn"t be surprised seeing someone get shot being an example for motivation. When it comes to setting examples making threats then carrying them out is one of the most efficient ways of getting respect. In conclusion, this life we live isn"t peaches and cream.

This Satire Candide shows this almost perfectly in its witty ironic ways. Some may even say this book is ridiculous, but it has a good point to the core and it proves realism and rationalism. My present worldview is more closely agreeable with those of Martin"s. I am a skeptic, and I find my self very realistic, and would fight to die to prove how real I am and how I know all I need to know. On the other hand, there are optimistic people, who use their optimistic points of view as a petty excuse for their weakness and frailty.

Works Cited

Craig, Graham, Kagan, Ozment, and Turner, The Heritage of World Civilizations vol 2 New Jersey; Upper Saddle River, 1997.

Voltaire, Candide France 1759


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