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Candide Book Critique

Updated October 7, 2021
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Candide Book Critique essay

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The book I read was called Candide and was written by Francios Marie Arouet also known as Voltaire. Voltaire was born in Paris France in 1694. The book Candide was published by Voltaire in 1759. The book was given to our class because it was written by a philosopher during the Age of Enlightenment which was the topic we were discussing. Candide is useful to our course of studies because it was written during the Age of Enlightenment and was written by one of the most popular Philosophers during the time, which would be Voltaire. Candide is a satire that included elements of philosophy, religion, and most importantly history since were in a history class.

When it came to writing books Voltaire loved Satire and irony but the main reason he liked this was because with this he was able to get his Philosophical points across. But the main reason Volatile wrote like this though was because it allowed him to make fun of the upper class along with religion and events. While writing Candide Voltaire went for entertaining people and not so much to inform and persuade. The reason for this is that the book is like an adventure book since he travels around the world and along with all the mishaps and deaths. Candide’s audience is intended for an older audience since it’s a little harder to understand and there is a lot that happens from murder to destruction.

In the book Candide, there were a lot of messages but one that stuck out the most was about optimism and it is(1) “everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.” The meaning behind this is that Voltaire is saying/showing the reader that the world isn’t as perfect as it seems and that people don’t know this until they have seen or witness it. The author’s point of view influences my thoughts because, in the book, Candide is very optimistic and tries to see the best in things even when things are at its low for example when he makes it to the town and then an unexpected earthquake tears it down. Candide even explains what optimism is )when Cacambo questions him about it and Candide reptiles with,(2) “It is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is the worst.”

This helps with my thoughts on the message since he talks about how sometimes when bad things happen it’s for the best. Candide is about a boy named Candide who is a philosopher’s student along with his two cousins, one of them a woman named Cunegonde. But Candide is soon kicked out because he was caught kissing his cousin Cunegonde by Pangloss who was his teacher/Philosopher. After getting kicked out he gets a stint in the Bulger army. He soon finds himself in Holland where he meets a nice anabaptist and Pangloss. After Pangloss tells him his cousins are dead then they all go to Portugal where the anabaptist dies in a storm over the sea and when they make it there an earthquake happens which happens to destroy the city. But then get arrested and Pangloss is hanged and Candide is whipped.

At this point, Candide is sad to lose a friend and even questions his own thoughts on optimism and even says,(3) “If this is the best of all possible worlds, what must the others be like.” But then Candide finds a woman who brings him to Cungonde who is a sex slave so Candide kills the men. After they head to South America where Candide commands troops. Then Cungonde marries the governor of Buenos aires to be safe while Candide and his valet Cacambo run off to Paraguay. Candide then decides to join the Spanish opposition. But then it turns out the commander is Candide’s other cousin the Baron. But then the Baron finds out that Candide wants to marry Cungonde and says he can’t do it so Candide tries to kill him and fails.

Candide and Cacambo then escape to El Dorado and so later back to Europe with all there money. Candide then sends Cacabo to get Cungondes so that they can all meet in Venice. But Candide losing a lot of money to thieves and decide to go to Venice with a man named Martine. After Candide makes it he comes to find that Cungonde is a house slave and also finds Pangloss and the Baron who are now working as galley slaves. Candide then buys all of them their freedom and then they are reunited in turkey. But Candide only comes to find that Cungonde has become mean and very ugly and is not the same person when they were just students. Candide also finds himself having second thoughts on marrying Cungonde but still does it since he promised her he would do so.

Candide then goes off and buys a small house with Cungonde and sends the Baron back to the galleys. After this everyone seems to end without happiness and seems all of what they did was for nothing. Candide neighbor then invites them for dinner and Candide sees how happy the man is and says that it is because of hard work and having a purpose. And at the end of Candide believes that happiness comes from hard work and begins to work on a garden thinking that this will create happiness for him. This book is related to topics in our class because we are in a history class and Candide talks about events but also about philosophers. Also that Voltaire the Author of this book was one of the most famous philosophers during the Age of Enlightenment.

My reaction to the text was that it was difficult to read at times and sometimes didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but sometimes I did understand what Voltaire was trying to say or convey in the text. I think that Voltaire did fulfill his purpose since after reading this the reader can kinda see was Volatires thoughts on optimism are. Something I found interesting is how the book can go from adventures and comedic to devastating and terror. Some examples of this are how Candide traveled around the world and meeting people but at the same time, he saw terror like the earthquake and the hanging and murder even if it was by him.

Something that I found interesting is that he kept on trying to find Cungonde and trying to marry her and would always fail to keep her and people also told him not to marry her and went through so much just for her to be ugly and mean at the end and Candide regretting marrying her. The book Candide was worth reading and I enjoyed reading it even if I had to stop to reread a couple of parts to understand them. I liked all of the adventure and action even if it’s about something tragic and I thought it was funny how someone so optimistic like Candide could stay optimistic after everything thing that happened to him and others around him. This book has enhanced my subject knowledge because in a way I understand Volatires mindset on Optimism and learned a little about him as well as how things were back then.

This book has increased my ability as a scholar because this book was not the easiest to understand even if it has less than one hundred pages and now that I was able to read this I now know that I can understand more books like it and will be more prepared for the next book we do. I would recommend this book to a friend because I thought it was great and the way the mood can switch so fast and is different as well as the writing style which may be hard to understand but is fine since the story is basic since it’s about a man who tries to find his true love and goes through journeys and sadness to find her only for a plot twist to find out he doesn’t love her anymore. My perception of the events has not been altered by the book because if anything it helped me learn more about some of the events that took place during the book, for example, the 7-year war.

Citations

  1. “Candide by Voltaire.” enotes.com. enotes.com, April 14, 2018. https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-message-voltaire-conveying-candide-believe-382675.
  2. Pomeau, René Henry. “Voltaire.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., November 29, 2019. https://www.britannica.com/biography/, Voltaire.
  3. Shank,( J.B. “Voltaire.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University, July 30, 2015. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/voltaire/.
  4. Voltaire, François Marie Arouet, and Annie Renaud. Candide. Gênes: Cideb, 2018.
  5. “Voltaire In Writing Candide History Essay.” UKEssays.com, April 12, 2018. https://www.ukessays.com/essays/history/voltaire-in-writing-candide-history-essay.php.
Candide Book Critique essay

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