The Destruction Of Optimism In Voltaire's Candide

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Voltaire reveals the emotional distress of losing a belief system through Candide’s experiences. Candide and Cacambo are traveling for a long time when they lose most of their sheep and riches; however, they still have more possessions than they need. They encounter a slave, and after hearing about his horrid experiences, Candide emotionally rejects the philosophy of optimism. “’Oh, Pangloss!’ cried Candide, ‘thou hadst not guessed at this abomination; it is the end. I must at last renounce thy optimism.’ ‘What is this optimism?’ said Cacambo. ‘Alas!’ said Candide, ‘it is the madness of maintaining that everything is right when it is wrong’” (Voltaire 49). There was no way for Pangloss to guess at the “abomination” or tragedies that Candide would encounter. Candide had witnessed or experience a mass of misfortunes, and the horrors told by the slave was the final straw for Candide. Candide “cried” that “it is the end.” Candide was emotional in the moment where he realized he no longer could believe in the philosophy in optimism, and he “renounced thy optimism.” He cried because his whole belief system had been proven wrong, and Candide was left with nothing. There were no more reasons to explain why terrible things happened. Candide had to then adopt the idea that bad…show more content…
He demonstrated that the philosophy promoted complacency, excused evil acts, and did not explain consecutive tragedies. When characters were complacent in the midst of disaster due to the philosophy, people died. Also, the ideas from the philosophy also justified evil acts which allowed for men to behave violently, and gave them the opportunity to harm other people. The unexplained misfortunes resulted in a loss of belief system and left people in emotional turmoil. The philosophy resulted in physical and emotional damage, indicating that Leibniz’s theodicy of optimism was not only incorrect but also
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