Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Everything is for the best

Voltaire satirizes a number of things (Religion, Government, Stealing, etc...) in his novel Candide. Two of the things he is satirizing that we seem to have overlooked are innocence and ignorance. Why is Candide so steadfastly ready to believe that "everything is for the best"? It is because "little Candide listened to his (Pangloss's) instructions with all the simplicity natural to his age..." So Pangloss has been teaching Candide his philosophy for years, so this "everything is for the best" belief is ingrained in Candide's mind.
When Candide is kicked out of the kingdom, he is innocent and ignorant to the ways of the world. He doesn't even know of the things that are going on in the world. For example, Candide does not know whether or not the Pope is an antichrist. Another example of Candide's ignorance is when he allows the skipper from Surinam to continue raising the price of his transportation to Venice. It's obvious the man is swindling him, but Candide does not catch on because he has not been exposed to this kind of behavior until now.
Throughout the novel Candide keeps a companion with him because without a companion he would be dead because of his ignorance. His companions get him out of many bad situations. A few examples include: the situation with the Oriellons, the situation with Miss Cunegund 's Brother, the situation with the officer, and the situation with the inquisitor. Without his companions' timely advice and wits he would have been eaten, killed, or in a dungeon. Candide's companions are able to get him out of these situations because they are not innocent or ignorant to the secular ways of mankind.
Voltaire cleverly disguises this satire throughout this novel. Voltaire wants people to get out of their comfort zone and travel places to learn new things because in reality everything is not for the best.

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