Candide by Voltaire: A Candid Review
The political philosophy of the enlightenment is recognized as the spirit of social reform. This movement called for rebellion against disadvantages of modern society thwarted by the aristocracies of the church. Voltaire has very few positive things to say about the political philosophy, particularly the school of optimism that challenges rational belief systems perpetrated by human begins; This attitude is clear in his presentation. Candide is Voltaire’s rather pessimistic approach to disprove religious and philosophical optimism, a popular theory of philosopher, Gottfried Leibniz. To disprove this, he establishes the main characters as devoted optimists, then methodically attacks the theory as he puts the characters through predictable experiences and situations that slowly extinguish their belief that "all is for the best.”
This essay is devoted to compare the film, Candide Ou’optimism to Voltaire’s novella Candide. The original satire was written in the late 17th century. Candide, the name of the main character lives in Westphalia, Germany, on his uncle’s estate. The schoolmaster and philosopher Pangloss tutor him and his cousin Cunegonde. Pangloss introduces the theory of philosophical optimism, which suggests that this world is the “best of all possible worlds.” After a series of unfortunate events Candide is thrown out of the castle, and his journey (as well as the journey of other main characters) begin to test Pengloss’ theory of optimism.
The differences from the novel and the movie are evident in the opening scene as an atomic bomb explodes, we can already see that the movie is set during World War 2, during the rise and fall of Hitler. Throughout the movie, the director continually flashes Hitler marches and speeches. Although the time period is vastly different from the novel, it is the director’s idea to compare Hitler’s oppression of people of other religions and beliefs, whom he tortured and killed, to the atrocities similarly made by the Catholic Church. Both the movie and novel continue to depict Voltaire’s lifelong aversion to regimes of power.
When Voltaire briefly touches on race, he uses the slave’s story to show the discrimination...