Voltaire's Candide: Literary Analysis

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J. Robert Oppenheimer’s quote, “The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true.” can be interpreted in innumerable ways. Voltaire's novella Candide resonates strongest negatively, with the pessimist’s view superseding the optimist’s view. Though a pessimist is someone who always sees the bad factors and worst possible results of any situation, Candide is not a story filled with negative thoughts even in the perfect circumstances; or gloomy with a quitter-esque attitude. Instead, Voltaire includes both the optimist's and pessimist's views side by side. By comparing them, he shows that the world is full of evils and justices. He utilizes this to refute Gottfried Leibniz's ideology of the world being controlled by a harmonious plan in motion, and portrays the reality of Oppenheimer’s quote.
Eldorado is considered a perfect society by Candide and his companion, Cacambo. This is an easy conclusion to make, especially after the tragedies and horrors they had seen; such as birth and traceable lineage
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Candide literally means ‘truthful and straightforward’. Candide is also introduced as an optimistic, in fact one that studied under Dr. Pangloss. His mind had been so warped with the idea of everything being for the best, one can denote him as the most knowledgeable of optimism. Candide tells Cacambo on page 69 that optimism is “..a mania for insisting that everything is all right when everything is going wrong”. The man who was taught of the virtues and brainwashed to always believe in optimism defines optimism as a counter-insightful ideology. Voltaire is sis giving the reader the direct message that after experiencing like Candide did, one can come to an universal conclusion, that the world isn’t as great as we’re led to
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