The Concept Of Optimism In Voltaire's Candide

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The best of all possible worlds denotes itself to nothing short of perfection. In Voltaire 's novel Candide, James the Anabaptist and El Dorado represent just this. The theory of Optimism, the idea that the best of all possible worlds is the world in which we all live in on earth. Voltaire created two characters that highlight religious tolerance and the qualities that many religious practitioners preach but do not practice. Voltaire criticizes both the religious practitioners and the theory of optimism through the various characters in the novel. Contrasting characters such as the Protestant Minister, the Pope, and Pangloss are used contradict the morals and beliefs exhibited by James and El Dorado. Voltaire uses a sense of irony to portray the Protestant Minister as morally flawed. James the Anabaptist and El Dorado represent exactly what religious practitioners strive to be. Voltaire suggests that a true and honest religious practitioner would overlook religion in a time of need. However the Protestant Minister’s behavior does not match the ideology behind Christian morality. This can be seen through the Protestant Minister’s statement, “...do you believe the pope to be Antichrist...be gone, rogue; begone, wretch; do not come near me again”(21). Instead of coming to the aid of Candide, the Protestant Minister evaluates Candide’s religious status before deciding if he will help Candide or not. If he were to be a “true” Christian, then Candide’s religious beliefs would
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