The Themes Of Love In Voltaire's Candide, Or Optimism

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The short story, Candide, or Optimism, was wrote by Voltaire, who was a renegade author amidst the Enlightenment time period. This author questioned the mainstream ways of life from his childhood through adulthood writing with boldness, wit, and rebellion as his protesting voice (Puchner, 421). Holding such strong opinions landed him in exile on more than one occasion. It was during his first imprisonment that he launched his writing career (Puchner, 421). His first play won him notoriety and wealth, which fueled his desire to speak out using his writings as a sounding board. “Voltaire wrote Candide in part as a response to a piece of news that shook him, and many of his contemporaries badly. On November 1, 1755, a devastating earthquake hit Lisbon, in Portugal. Upwards of thirty-thousand people died” (Puchner, 422). Haunted by the reality of this earthquake, its ruinous effects, and the lack of reasonable explanation, Voltaire pours his anger and frustration into the creation of this story, which embodies many of the unjust incidents that he has witnessed in his lifetime such as unnecessary loss of life, limitations on free speech, and absolutism among other things. Themes of love, religious bigotry, and human suffering are amid the many themes that Voltaire focuses on throughout this narrative. The theme of love is a driving force in Voltaire’s Candide. Candide, the main character, was the “bastard child of the Baron’s sister” thus he was privileged to grow up with all

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