Literary Essay on Candide by Voltaire

2 pages
323 words
Carnegie Mellon University
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It is paradoxical and surprising that Candide and Cacambo decide to leave after living in a relative paradise for some months. Candide and Cacambo feel they are not happy despite living in a place where they dreamed of (Voltaire, 2005). It is paradoxical their decision to leave because if Eldorado is a utopia, then how is it possible that its residents can be discontented when it is the place that provides for all its residents. A further paradox emerges on analysis of the fact that it is arguable Voltaire tried to show that Candide and Cacambo were not truly happy since a life of happiness has many risks, adventures all brought about by venturing into the unknown.

In Candide, Voltaire manages to make an impact on the mind of the reader and shape their beliefs on character traits and perspective. At the start, the innocence and good faith that Candide expresses bestow the feeling of optimism on the reader. It is eventually surprising however that Voltaire slowly kills the optimism as the story progresses and at the end discards it completely. Characters that apparently had good characters change and disappoint the reader. However, the surprise comes again living up to positive expectations and boosting expectations.

Voltaire developed characters that made sense without the need for support or validation. In this way, the characters take on a deeper meaning when their context and significance is analyzed. The surprises in Voltaires Candide are an expression of the irregularities and imperfection of human nature in the environment they have fashioned for themselves to exist. Voltaire used the individually of characters to provide surprise endings that incorporated the defects of human nature, described culture and norms and reinforced optimism.



Carroll, P., Sweeny, K., & Shepperd, J. A. (2006). Forsaking optimism. Review of general psychology, 10(1), 56.

Feder, H. (2002). The Critical Relevance of the Critique of Rationalism: Postmodernism, Ecofeminism, and Voltaire's Candide. Women's Studies, 31(2), 199-219.

Voltaire. (2005). Candide. Simon and Schuster.

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