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Candide Essay Examples

Questions on Voltaire’s Candide Essay Sample

❶The series of misfortunes that befall him serve as a re-education via direct experience with the world.

François Voltaire

Critical Evaluation
Candide Thesis Statements and Important Quotes
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Pangloss believes that a powerful God had created the world and that, therefore, the world…. When reading a work of fiction, one has to be aware of different writing styles that will clue you into the information that the author wants one to pick up on. I will be discussing this theme which…. With this character he then will compare to the lowest of all beings to illustrate all the faults of man. These characters in his story are called the Houyhnhnms, which have….

Optimism is a mental attitude or world view that interprets situations and events as being best optimized , meaning that in some way for factors that may not be fully comprehended, the present moment is in an optimum state.

The concept is typically extended to include the attitude of hope for future conditions unfolding as optimal…. Gottfried Leibniz was, among other things, a philosopher and was best known for his philosophy on optimism. Leibniz believed that there existed a supernatural being who created and controlled the world.

He further espoused that this being was perfect and being a perfect being could not make anything imperfect. Leibniz was himself a mathematician and….

Pope elucidated that he…. Therefore, while freedom of expression and a…. Voltaire embodies the Enlightenment more than any other intellectual or writer. Enlightenment is also called the age of Voltaire…. If you contact us after hours, we'll get back to you in 24 hours or less.

Previous Go to page. Age of Enlightenment and Candide Voltaire Candide Candide is an outlandishly humorous, far-fetched tale by Voltaire satirizing the optimism espoused by the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment. This Japanese form of literature has a much lighter tone than that of the European… Literature. In this tutoring… Cunegonde Literature Madame Pangloss. Great Works of Western Tradition: Sometimes they, too, occur in sequences of adjectives: At other times, they counterbalance in the same sentence the cumulative effect of dead past participles: Or they add vitality to a still scene: And there is a final case where the present participle serves to prevent life from totally disappearing:.

Thus Candide's world is a world of action, varied, tense, contradictory, and paradoxical. It springs from many unknown sources and submerges those upon whom it falls; with constant pounding it beats out life. Whether it comes from forces in nature or in man-made institutions, it crushes and exasperates. Somehow one gets the impression that action produces energy and energy begets force and force is an evil thing.

It must be met by another force which springs from another energy derived from counteraction. For the outside action pressing upon the individual brings forth a response which is another action.

It leaves behind the dead, past, traditional action, the absorbed evil action. It pushes forward, young, vigorous, eager, inexperienced, but confident that it can master by struggle, effort, and work the deadly past and the uncertain future. Creation in Candide is certainly the answer to universal destruction. In this creative action, struggling to overcome destructive action, adverbs and adjectives also play their role.

They characterize the actors, the objects involved, and the action. At the same time, they bestow value judgment on the phenomena. In their own powerful way, they bestow character, that is to say, form to Candide's struggling universe; and they give exasperated testimony that as long as the human mind can attribute value judgments to the phenomena of existence life will go on. There is in Candide an extraordinary tendency to attach adjectives to nouns as if the adjectival quality were a guarantee for the existence of the object.

Many of them are colorless: Others contribute a trait of character: Still others add by their incongruity a touch of irony: This use of adjectives to characterize is in fact carried to an extreme. There are many instances where these adjectives are massed in phalanx, as in This massing very often occurs in Voltaire.

This massing, however, is no more impressive than the adjective's variety when singly used, and no more impressive than its contrast with opposing adjectives or its paradox with the nouns or the situation it qualifies. Surely the world of Candide is a world of chaos, a world of mutually consuming qualities, ironically and paradoxically qualified.

It is not predominantly good nor bad—good in its potentialities, perhaps, bad in its actualities, certainly, and very full of strife, energy, effort. There is a type of adjective which conveys interpretation much better than the mass of qualifying adjectives we have just mentioned. In a sense it carries a value judgment of superior proportions, it has a superlative force in itself.

It attaches to its noun a quality, to be sure, but it carries a very definite intellectual judgment on the part of the speaker. And yet the judgment is partly irrational: Separately, these adjectives give a tone as well as a quality to an object.

Collectively they combine to give a tone to the work. It should be stressed that the judgments they convey are not one-sided, as we are prone to presume in speaking of Candide. They suggest in addition to some irritation a tension that is stretched two ways: This tendency to enhance the tension value of nouns and consequently of the whole work is paralleled by a similar tendency in the use of adverbs.

We find in the conte a fair number of transition adverbs used not so much to qualify the action as to keep it running smoothly: In addition, there is a large number of manner adverbs which state how an action is performed: Corresponding to the group of superlative adjectives, they give a tone to verbs or adjectives; they add a gesture to the action also, sometimes a very startling one. They carry a judgment not at all of one order, perform their role in producing tension, and present with much variety the paradox and irony of action.

At times they appear massively as in Both adjectives and adverbs break into superlatives of the most amazing variety, as Miss McGhee has already shown in her Voltairian Narrative Devices. The superlative in fact dominates the whole story. These effects in themselves build up a most violent tension, but even this tension is sometimes augmented by a massive buildup: At times, the adverbs augment other words which are by their nature diminished: Of all the words creating intensity tout is perhaps the most important.

But it is used also in every conceivable way to embrace the whole universe as well as to intensify every phenomenon: He would be closer to the truth if he saw in this phenomenon the shattering effect which uncontrolled energy has upon the rational mind, particularly when mind has accepted responsibility for the nature of things.

However, logical consequence is not of importance here. When struck by an earthquake we can hardly be concerned with the question whether we respond with our minds our entelechie or our being our ens.

It can be affirmed that a constant effort is made in Candide to keep judgments rational or at any rate rationally oriented. Since many of the acts are irrational, however, many of the responses are irrational, too; consequently, many of the judgments are ironical, sarcastic, paradoxical, and absurd—just as life is.

The superlative is an excellent plane for effecting these tones. The important thing to grasp, however, is not the value of a particular act, but the value of the critical act itself. Thus there is in the implications of the work itself an inner structure—a vital soul—which is its meaning. It is phenomena, criticism, judgment.

In all areas in which life becomes—philosophical, aesthetic, moral, social, religious—it becomes through the saving grace of creative criticism. That is the structural meaning of Candide, it is the meaning of Voltaire.

We have examined Candide as the result of a philosophical system, a series of historical events, and a temperament, taking care to show that these are active agents, creative forces which contribute to the molding of the work.

We have analyzed its structure from the point of view of composition, style, and themes to see if there is harmony between that structure and the forces controlling it. It is quite as difficult to find an effective method of penetrating ideas as to discover a method of analyzing style and at this point in research, we usually succumb to the temptation of describing what the author thought instead of striving to penetrate his thought and grasp the spirit which informs the work.

Even in describing his ideas we are inclined to take short-cuts, since a man can do a lot of thinking in sixty-five years and, if he is a Voltaire, he can put an inordinate number of his thoughts on paper. Our problem then becomes how to select, in Voltaire's complex of ideas, the ones that controlled Candide.

There are, to our knowledge, only three ways of approaching this problem. For a Flaubert with his marvelous correspondence this procedure produces results; for a Voltaire, despite his tremendous volume of correspondence, the result is practically nil.

Besides, Candide is first and foremost a clandestine work; it conceals its thoughts as it conceals itself. Strange to say, Candide is as clandestine for Voltaire as for us.

The third way of approaching the problem is to seek in Voltaire's production up to the dominating ideas of Candide. Fortunately, it is not our task at this point to deal with the complex problem of how thought led to the artistic organization of Candide, and how Candide led to a program of action. It is sufficiently difficult to concern ourselves here with the first part of the problem only.

What we wish to examine is how thought content organized itself at the moment of Candide, how Candide became at that moment the total organic and aesthetic expression of that thought. The simplest way of attacking the problem is to select from Voltaire's writings down to those items having significant bearing upon the making of Candide, to choose works containing ideas which could not fail to enter into its making.

The writings in this category are well known, for they have been analyzed time and time again since Voltaire's day. From this assertion is derived a series of private opinions both destructive and constructive: Voltaire's answer to each is a succession of constructive and destructive opinions private ones, of course , confined not solely to the religious field, but operating also in the metaphysical, physical, and moral fields.

He had hardly begun his intellectual career before he became overwhelmed with difficulties that he attempts to minimize by insisting upon a deistic providentialism, which, in a way, offers total security. As long as he believes in this providentialism, he does not have to insist too much upon solving subsequent difficulties: Arguments against the freedom of man are many—thanks particularly to Frederick, who assumes the role of diabolus advocatus in the dispute—but this is no matter for concern.

True, indeed, there are more arguments in favor of God's existence than against it. The foundations of morality become very shaky in his Chapters viii and ix, but again Voltaire refuses to be disturbed, for God has given man fundamental moral laws. He feels so secure that he decides that all man needs to do is to find ways of enjoying himself.

The Lettres philosophiques has as its central idea the concept that freedom of being is possible in this world, provided one lives in the right place, at the right time, with the right manners and customs, with the right culture. Ideas proliferate in every direction from this central theme. Foremost among them is the notion of man's making his freedom by judicious adjustments in all categories of living: But just as important is the thought that by studying man in his various vital categories one can understand what his reality is.

The human creature can do little to influence Providence in his favor, but if he assumes that Providence is on his side or at least neutral he can do much in shaping his own destiny. Thus happiness is humanly Analysis of a Classic, edited by Theodore Besterman, pp. Style is language which expresses and communicates a literary inspiration; it is diction organized toward beauty.

The style of Candide is not naturally separable from its other component elements—which is why some attention has already been Indeed, it was so severe that Voltaire felt constrained to take its editors to task for what he deemed their ineptitude.

Their article, however, certainly merits attention, since it contains the type of ambiguous evaluation characteristic of all criticism of Candide down to The meaning of the Eldorado episode in Candide has been the subject of extensive critical debate. Does it represent the author's ideal, his vision of the perfect society, or does it represent a false paradise, to be rejected by the perspicacious reader as it is by the protagonist?

If Eldorado is the perfect society as far as Voltaire is Voltaire's Candide is subtitled Optimism. Pangloss' speeches in this regard are well-larded with phrases and terms coined or made famous by Leibniz, and, so as not to Swift, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Johnson, and Austen, pp.

Columbia University Press, Enlightenment is man's leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's intelligence without the guidance of another.

Several of Voltaire's best known tales are similar in shape and plot, apparent variations on an inner theme. The Structure of Candide. That critics should still continue to argue about Candide is scarcely surprising. To summarize it is well-nigh impossible; to isolate one idea is often to find that idea contradicted or betrayed further on.

Underlying the apparent chaos, I would suggest, is in fact a venerable literary genre: In the epilogue to her distinguished study Paradoxia Epidemica: The Renaissance Tradition of The problem of evil, which is at the heart of Candide , had long troubled Voltaire. Why is there suffering in the world? Why are human beings malicious toward one another? A Tale of Women's Equality. Candide, Voltaire's great philosophical conte, is undoubtedly among the most popular and perennial of literary works; as such it has received an enormous share of frequently esoteric critical attention.

Invariably stressing the climactic final chapter, concluding His dream of owning a garden, of enjoying country living, and of having the leisure to pursue his writings had been finally fulfilled. As for finding a beloved to warm his old age, he Voltaire has proven to be a formidable obstacle to many modern critical approaches; not impervious, but a kind of unmovable object successfully resisting an irresistible force. Few indeed have been the scholars who have applied to his works the methods of recent approaches such as structuralism, deconstruction, or chaos theory of course, with the latter The master of the castle who kicks out Candide.


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Candide eventually finds happiness in hard work and rejects all questions of good and evil or optimism and pessimism. It is only when Candide gives up adventures in travel, love, and philosophy that he discovers happiness in tending his garden.

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What are three examples of surprising discoveries in Candide? In reference to such discoveries, with what popular fiction does Voltaire's narrative have affi Essay Questions.

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Questions on Voltaire’s Candide Essay Sample. 1. In the very first chapter Candide is literally kicked out of the “most beautiful and delightful of possible castles,” expelled from an “earthly paradise.”. Essays and criticism on Voltaire's Candide - Critical Essays.

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Candide essay questions - Benefit from our affordable custom dissertation writing service and get the most from unbelievable quality Dissertations, essays and research papers of best quality. Proofreading and proofediting aid from best writers. Suggested essay topics and project ideas for Candide. Part of a detailed Lesson Plan by