Candide. Everything Has A Cause Essay

1039 words - 4 pages

Candide is a novel that makes sarcasm on lots of aspects. For example, it satirizes one philosophical idea that “there is no effect without a cause”. As a philosopher who believes that everything has its own purpose, I feel offended by Voltaire’s Candide after reading this novel at my local Salon, since what Voltaire attacked, cause and effect, had been proved in our real life hundreds of years ago by scientific revolution, from which the idea of cause and effect emerged: events take place for specific reasons and they follow their unique laws, not operated by supernatural force or just happened to be there.
Pangloss is one of the most significant figures around Candide. His central philosophy that “things cannot be other than they are, since everything was made for a purpose” (Voltaire 20) has been attacked by Voltaire in Candide. Voltaire criticized Pangloss’s philosophy by using the story of Candide killing Baron’s son – Cunégonde’s brother. Candide told Baron that he wanted to marry his sister, and Baron exclaimed to disagree. Irritated by Baron’s words, Candide killed him. Later Candide and his servant escaped, but they were caught by Oreillons and were ready to be eaten until Candide told them that he was not a Jesuit as he killed one Jesuit – Baron. Because of this, Candide was freed from being eaten, and he said:
What grand people they are! What fine fellows! And what culture! If I had not been lucky enough to spit Lady Cunégonde’s brother, I should infallibly have been eaten. What all is said and done, there is a sterling goodness in an unsophisticated Nature…
Candide believed that the effect of him not being eaten is caused by the fact that he killed Baron and hence he was naively “full of admiration” to those people. Later Candide and Cacambo went to Eldorado, where they got millions of diamonds. Voltaire used this story because he wanted to satirize the relationship between cause and effect. Typically if a person did something bad, for example, killing another person, the effect would be as severe as that the person be sentenced to death. This theory failed, however, in this part of story, as the effect of Candide survived from being killed was due to the fact that he killed someone, not because he did something morally plausible to save himself. To make the theory more sarcastic, Candide not only escaped from harsh punishment, but also got millions of diamonds. Voltaire attacked “cause and effect” as he tried to convince people that Candide did something terrible, which, however, caused him to get wealth.
It seems that the example above managed to impugn the theory of cause and effect, but Voltaire was contradicting himself later in Candide as he showed readers that cause and effect might exist somewhere. In Chapter XV he tried to assail the theory that “there is a cause and effect” by using the example of Candide killing Cunégonde’s brother and it did, to some extent, show that the theory of cause and effect failed. However,...

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