Candide by Voltaire

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According to Voltaire, author of Candide, the Enlightenment period in Europe’s history must have been a time of great optimism. Although, Candide, was considered an example of The Enlightenment it actually makes fun of a number of the philosophies and demonstrates that the movement was far from being united. Candide reflects Voltaire’s exaggerated self-opinion on Church/Christianity, human suffering, and the effects/impacts of European discovery of the New World. In the book, events all slowly work at Candide’s optimistic up bringing by Pangloss (the apostle of optimism) until he no longer has faith in having a world where “all things are arranged for the best (Voltaire, 12)”. By the end of the book his opinion changes to that “we must cultivate our garden (Voltaire, 94)”, that making the best of your circumstances is the most important aspect of humanity.

Throughout the whole book, Voltaire criticizes organized religion by giving examples of the corrupt, hypocritical religious leaders and there rulings. In the book you encounter the daughter of a Pope, a man who as a Catholic priest should have been abstinent, but yet wasn’t; a Catholic Inquisitor who keeps a mistress; a Franciscan friar who operates as a jewel thief. Also you come to encounter a Jesuit Colonel, who seems to have homosexual intentions with a Reverend. Along with the horrible ways that the Religious leaders act, the leaders go out to carry radical operations of religious oppression against those who disagree with their thinking, even in the smallest of matters. In Chapter 6 for example, it illustrates this fact in the figure of the Grand Inquisitor who orders an auto-da-fé to ward off earthquakes, and to punish Pangloss for expressing his ideas and for Candide for just listening to him. Religious leaders, such of the Christian and Catholic faith are not supposed to be superstitious or out on a witch hunt to kill people that oppose there theology. You find in the book that Candide has a run in...
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