Candide Reflection

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Vincent Locklear
Candide: A Reflection
The age of Enlightenment brought us many well respected and influential thinkers. These thinkers had different views and ideas as to the world we live in. In an age where people are looking for social progress and happiness, Voltaire’s Candide provided a satirical view of Enlightenment ideas. Candide reflects Voltaire’s beliefs about religion, philosophy, and corruption of power. Voltaire publicly criticized the church during his life and in Candide he writes of the corruption and hypocrisy of religious leaders. Candide meets Cunegonde’s servant, an old woman, who is the daughter of a Catholic Pope. A Catholic priest is supposed to abstain from sex, and to have a daughter is clearly a violation of his Catholic beliefs. There are also the actions of the Grand Inquisitor that lead to his death at the hands of Candide. The Grand inquisitor threatens Don Issachar, who bought Candide’s love Cunegonde and made her a mistress, with religious oppression. He makes Don share Cunegonde with him. During this time he also orders heretics to be burned alive, making him a hypocrite. As with other leaders during this era, men of authority seemed to believe they were above the laws and rules they created. It is also important to note that Voltaire’s disapproval of the Jews is really meant to be a shot at Christianity. Christianity is derived from the Jewish religion and so Voltaire uses satire to ultimately show how ridiculous the Christian oppression of Jews is. The Enlightenment period provided us with ideas of how the world is and the way life should be lived. In Candide two completely opposite views are presented to us. Pangloss’s optimism is too extreme and unjustified. He maintains his optimism although most events in his life would disprove his philosophy. Pangloss’s philosophy is similar to many Enlightenment thinkers. Pessimistic views are shared by most characters in the novel such as Martin, the old woman, and...
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