Candide

Ignorance: Far from Bliss 12th Grade

Violence and other cruelties are such a large part of the world that they can never be fully rooted out, no matter how hard the effort is to remove them. A common coping mechanism of handling the tragedies of everyday life is to ignore or to attempt to conjure a “bright side” of the situation. In Voltaire's Candide, the main character’s faith in the philosophy optimism is shaken. With the struggles of the novel, Voltaire most strongly denounces blind, philosophical optimism through the use of hyperbole, litotes, and symbolism.

This blind, philosophical optimism can best be described as believing that everything is alright and refusing to believe that the universe would not allow for suffering if it were not for some better outcome. Voltaire heavily satirizes this concept through the use of exaggeration, or hyperbole, with Candide, the main character, and his favorite philosopher, Pangloss, as advocates for the fact that they live in “the best of all possible worlds” (15). With the tragedies that occur, this claim is a purposeful overstatement used to mock the optimism by attempting to bring cruel, satiric humor to such a description in order to bring attention to the lunacy of it. It is for that reason that Voltaire describes...

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