Voltaire's Candide and Mockery

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On the surface, Voltaire’s Candide seems to be about every stupidity, every transgression, and every immoral act conceivable to man. It is a satirical and absurd look at life and religion. It makes a mockery of organized religious institutions and leaders. The hypocrisy of the actions of these leaders makes the reader wonder if Voltaire is against every religious order and even God, or is it simply the hypocrisy he abhors. In examining this book, it is a satirical way of looking at the hypocrisy of actions while holding true that goodness outside of these institutions and inside the person is what is important and imperative. Voltaire seems to write this book as a rebuttal of the theory of Leibniz.

The two people in Candide that have a pessimistic attitude, Martin, and an optimistic attitude, Pangloss, both influence the life and actions of Candide. Pangloss is said to be a parody of Leibniz’s philosophy on good and evil. Leibniz (16-17) argued that evil only exists so that we can recognize the good. In Candide, both sides are so extreme that it keeps either Pangloss or Martin from doing anything to change their situations or that of the world. Voltaire was very critical of Leibniz and he seems to mock Leibniz’s theory of good and evil in Candide.
Mocking organized religions

The first religious leader that Candide encounters is a Protestant orator in chapter 3 who believes that the Pope is the antichrist. The orator banishes Candide for not believing that the Pope is the antichrist and his wife throws human feces over his head. The irony is not lost on the reader that the orator is trying to convert members to his beliefs while there is death and destruction all around him. The orator is the opposite of what a Christian would believe, as he is full of hate.

It is here that Candide meets the first true good person, James. James is referred to as an Anabaptist. An Anabaptist is a member of the Protestant radical movement in the 16th century that rejected

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