Candide By Voltaire


Candide By Voltaire

In the novel, Candide, Voltaire uses many literary writing tools to prove the
points in which he believes. Some of these many literary tools are irony,
satire, and symbolism. Through these tools, Voltaire proves that greed is a
universal vice, and usually ends in ones own destruction. Voltaire strongly
emphasizes his pessimistic view throughout the story. During Chapter 10, he uses
his philosophies, as well as other literary tools, to present greed as a
devastating factor of society’s corruption. For example, Cunegonde found that
someone had stolen her money and jewels. "Who could have stolen my money and
diamonds? ...I strongly suspect a reverend Franciscan who slept in the same inn
with us last night in Badajoz."(Pg. 40) She was sure that the thief was the
reverend; how is it that money can makes someone so holly, corrupt enough to
make a sin? Voltaire uses irony here to show the pessimistic view of greed
overcoming a holly person’s wholesomeness. "’Madam, you have seventy-two
years of nobility, but not one penny. You now have the chance to become the wife
of a man who’s the greatest lord in South America and has a very handsome
mustache." (Pg. 51) Cunegonde was ready to marry a man all for money, not on
love. Voltaire satirized philosophical optimism. He used exaggerations and
berated all the petty inhumanities of society. This scene, where Cunegonde
ponders whether or not to marry a man for money, supports Voltaire’s overall
theme of pessimism. Candide and Cacambo traveled to Eldorado, and found it to be
the best place ever. "If our friend Pangloss had seen Eldorado, he wouldn’t
have said that the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh was the finest thing on
earth." (Pg. 68) Leaving a perfect place, such as Eldorado, where they could
be seen as equals, and extremely pleased, seems insane. However, Candide and

Cacambo found money more important. They left to live in a corrupt world, filled
with riches and wealth. "[If we return to our world] we’ll be richer than
all the kings of Europe put together." (Pg. 70) This just goes to show that
humanity see more, and better of money than happiness, and riches in
contentment. Eldorado is a symbol of society’s corruption, through greed. Even
though the underlying tone of Voltaire’s story of Candide is pessimistic, it
heavily relates to contemporary times. The truth is that much of our once pure
world has been corrupted through human’s own self-indulgence. Much of what a
person walking down the street of New York City might see as vice, is shown
throughout this story, by use of satire, irony, and symbolism. Voltaire. Candide.

A Bantam Book, New York, 1981.

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