Satirical Elements In Candide

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In the novella Candide, Voltaire expresses his disdainful opinion about optimistic philosophers of the Enlightenment by using satirical elements such as exaggeration, irony, and Burlesque to further develop the theme of the recklessness of optimism. Throughout the book, the main character Candide and his mentor, Pangloss, suffer and witness various misfortunes but fail to find a connection to any greater good. Voltaire’s reasoning for writing Candide is to point out the absurdity of the optimistic philosophy, which concludes that God must be perfect and that the world he created must be perfect as well. To these enlightenment thinkers, like Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, the idea that the existence of any “evil in the world”(Voltaire 141)…show more content…
Throughout the book, Candide and Pangloss suffer and witness many horrors which include: floggings, rapes, drownings, robberies, executions, disease, earthquakes, and betrayals yet they still fail to react as expected. In the case of the drowning of John the Anabaptist, Candide was going to dive to rescue the man but Pangloss reasoned against it by stating “that Lisbon harbour was made on purpose for [the] anabaptist to drown there” (Voltaire 33). The situational irony that voltaire creates occurs when candide is expected to help the anabaptist but instead allows himself to be persuaded into letting the good man drown. Voltaire thus successfully satirizes how optimists are so quick to dismiss a tragedy as “a chain of events in this best of all possible worlds” (Voltaire 144), thus furthering the theme by proving how reckless and destructive optimism can be because of the lack of clear and evidence-based explanations. The theme is continuously developed because of how Voltaire uses situational irony to demonstrate how dismissive optimists can be about any
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