Candide summary

Topics: Candide, Voltaire, Syphilis Pages: 6 (2480 words) Published: April 6, 2014

POT 3054 Research Paper
Voltaire’s Candide
Voltaire begins the climactic, satirical journey of Candide by first stating where he originates, the castle of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh (Voltaire 1). This absurd name can be seen as Voltaire taking aim at the ridiculous names of lords, dukes, etc. he has come across. Not only is it an unnecessarily long name, but a humorous one to pronounce. The Baron is also said to have established an unreasonable seventy-one heraldic quarterings due to his family tree having been destroyed by the ravages of time (Voltaire 1). Voltaire is once again making fun of the foolish things royalty takes pride in such as the markings on a shield. The Baroness is revealed as weighing a steep 350 pounds, resulting in her enjoying a large measure of public esteem (Voltaire 1). The satire is evident here with the large Baroness commanding a large amount of respect from the public. Weight was clearly an issue amongst royalty during Voltaire’s time as they were not afraid to divulge in an unhealthy lifestyle. The teachings of the castle’s philosopher Pangloss is defined as metaphysico-theologico-cosmo-codology (Voltaire 2). Just as with the name of the Baron, the abundance of titles and fields studied for philosophers is the center of Voltaire’s satire now. With this title, Pangloss encompasses all fields of study and is able to know the answer to any question asked of him. Voltaire paints Pangloss as a deductive thinker throughout the story which opposes Voltaire’s inductive way of thinking. As a result of Pangloss being seen as the greatest philosopher in the province, he is subsequently seen as the greatest in the world (Voltaire 2). Arrogance is confessed in this mindset of whatever is the best locally must be nothing short of being the best in the world. This mindset of local superiority can still be found today.

Candide is soon chased from the Baron’s castle because of an act of adultery committed with his daughter Cunegonde (Voltaire 3). This is seen as unacceptable because of the difference in social status between the two. More often in that time, class was seen as a divider amongst the people as royalty must marry with royalty. Cunegonde can be translated into brave war, foreshadowing events to come. An additional obnoxious name for a town is announced when Candide makes his way into Walderberghoff-trarbk-dikdorff (Voltaire 3). This satirical name being even more humorous with its greater length. Once in town, Candide somehow finds himself being taken against his will, imprisoned, and tortured by a regiment called the Bulgars. He is eventually saved from execution by King of the Bulgars and thus forced to join in a battle against the King of the Abars in which he did his best to hide (Voltaire 5). The aftermath is portrayed as grotesque butchery of women and children covered in blood and dismembered. Unlike Candide, who was disgusted by the scene forcing him to flee, the two Kings were having Christian songs sung in their respective camps (Voltaire 6). The callousness and hypocrisy of the soldiers can be seen here. The perpetrators not only feel the need to feel no remorse over their acts of debauchery, but feel compelled to sing religious music. Music that portrays love and peace, antonyms of what had just taken place.

Candide now finds himself in Holland where he assumes he will be accepted with open arms due to the fact that the citizens are rich and Christian. These same rich Christians proceed to threaten Candide as he begs for help throughout the town (Voltaire 6). The worst even came from an orator who had just been addressing a large crowd on the subject of charity of all things, when he verbally assaulted Candide and had his wife throw a bucket of feces over Candide’s head (Voltaire 7). Voltaire continues to mock religion and its followers by revealing the endless hypocrisy that engulfs them. These people who preach about loving each other...
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