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All Is Not For The Best

1010 words - 4 pages

"All is Not for the Best" 10-K Candide Voltaire's Candide is

the story of an innocent man's experiences in a mad and evil

world, his struggle to survive in that world, and his need to

ultimately come to terms with it. All people experience the

turmoil of life and must overcome obstacles, both natural

and man-made, in order to eventually achieve happiness. In

life, "man must find a medium between what Martin (scholar

and companion to Candide) calls the "convulsions of

anxiety" and the "lethargy of boredom"" (Richter 137). After

a long and difficult struggle in which Candide is forced to

overcome misfortune to find happiness, he concludes that all

is not well (as he has previously been taught by his tutor, Dr.

Pangloss), and that he must work in order to find even a

small amount of pleasure in life. Candide grows up in the

Castle of Westphalia and is taught by the learned

philosopher, Dr. Pangloss. Candide is abruptly exiled from

the castle when found kissing the Baron's daughter,

Cunegonde. Devastated by the separation from Cunegonde,

his true love, Candide sets out to different places in the hope

of finding her and achieving total happiness. On his journey,

he faces a number of misfortunes, among them being

tortured during army training, yet he continues to believe that

there is a "cause and effect" for everything. Candide is

reunited with Cunegonde, and regains a life of prosperity,

but soon all is taken away, including his beloved Cunegonde.

He travels on, and years later he finds her again, but she is

now fat and ugly. His wealth is all gone and so is his love for

the Baron's daughter. Throughout Candide, we see how

accepting situations and not trying to change or overcome

obstacles can be damaging. Life is full of struggles, but it

would be nonproductive if people passively accepted

whatever fate had in store for them, shrugging off their

personal responsibility. Voltaire believes that people should

not allow themselves to be victims. He sneers at naive,

accepting types, informing us that people must work to

reach their utopia (Bottiglia 93). In Candide, reality and "the

real world" are portrayed as being disappointing. Within the

Baron's castle, Candide is able to lead a Utopian life. After

his banishment, though, he recognizes the evil of the world,

seeing man's sufferings. The only thing that keeps Candide

alive is his hope that things will get better. Even though the

world is filled with disaster, Candide has an optimistic

attitude that he adopted from Dr. Pangloss' teachings. In

spite of his many trials, Candide believes that all is well and

everything is for the best. Only once, in frustration, does he

admit that he sometimes feels that optimism is "the mania of

maintaining that all is well when we are miserable" (Voltaire

41). Candide's enthusiastic view of life is contrasted with,

and challenged by the suffering...

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