Candide - Perhaps one of the greatest philosophical satires...

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Perhaps one of the greatest philosophical satires written, Voltaire’s piece, “Candide, or Optimism,” challenges the stringent sanguinity of Christianity by exposing the increasing and often inescapable misfortunes of man. As Candide struggles in a world where his condition spirals perpetually downward, it seems inconceivable that he should attain his ambitions to be united with his love, despite his inherent and steadfast optimism. By understating the significance of unrealistic events, Voltaire generates thoughtful laughter in the reader, allowing him to see the inefficacy of optimism in the face of fate. After escaping his conscription in the Bulgarian army, Candide arrives in Holland, where he encounters his former mentor, Dr. Pangloss. Once a great philosopher, he had the utmost respect, however, he has since been reduced to filthy vagabond. Having contracted syphilis, Pangloss’s death is imminent, yet, despite his condition, he remains confident in his belief that “everything is best.” Comically, he traces the disease to Christopher Columbus, despite having
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This note was uploaded on 09/01/2008 for the course HLI 113 taught by Professor Levin during the Fall '08 term at Stevens.

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Candide - Perhaps one of the greatest philosophical satires...

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