In 1759, Voltaire’s sarcastic novel Candide was first published. Candide, a young man who is kicked out of a utopian society, is the focus of the plot. The story follows his development as he overcomes real-life challenges and eventually gives up on the idea that “all is for the best.” The book is a commentary on human nature and a sharp critique of Voltaire’s political and religious systems. My interest was piqued by the book’s sharp satire, optimistic criticism, religious dogma, and cruelties of fate. Free will and the possibility of human suffering and evil are the book’s most important themes for me.
One of the main themes of the book is freedom and how it relates to the possibility of “the best of every conceivable world.” It would appear that Voltaire was implying that the notion that good can come from nothing and that everything is predestined can be used to justify any kind of injustice or suffering. Candide and his friends go through a lot of pain throughout the book, but Pangloss insists that everything is for the best. Voltaire makes fun of Pangloss’s upbeat outlook by using them. Nobody is happy, everything is bad, and everything always goes wrong, especially the main character, Candide. His assertion that our world is not “the best of all possible worlds” is supported by this.
The concept of human suffering and the problem of evil is another theme. Candide and his companions go through a lot of suffering and injustice throughout the book, including war, poverty, and discrimination. It would appear that Voltaire is suggesting that these things are the result of human ferocity and cruelty rather than of a kind world.
Candide and his companions ultimately reject Pangloss’s philosophy and adopt a more practical lifestyle at the book’s conclusion. Candide believed that the best way to live was to “cultivate our garden” and make the most of our circumstances. This is interpreted as a metaphor for rejecting the idea that everything will work out for the best, taking charge of our own lives, and seizing opportunities as they present themselves.
In general, Candide is a book that mocks hope and the idea that everyone benefits from everything. Voltaire encourages readers to take responsibility for their own happiness and well-being and argues for a more pragmatic and realistic approach to life through the experiences of Candide and his companions. The inquiry, “Was Voltaire’s time optimistic?” emerges subsequently. And do all authors write to share their unique worldviews? What stands in the way of a happy ending and the “best of every conceivable world” in the final scene of Candide?