The Naive Protagonists of Candide and Forrest Gump
Society can be, and is, corrupt in many different ways. Within our lives we are subject, but not limited to, corruptions within religion, corruptions of morals, and corruption within the government. Voltaire, the author of Candide, and Robert Zemeckis, the director of "Forrest Gump", both use grotesquely naïve protagonists to illustrate their view of the world in which they live. Nevertheless, Candide and Forrest, surrounded by a corrupt society, and bombarded by various character defining events, are able to come to a higher understanding as to their philosophy of life.
Candide, by Voltaire, is a story about an optimistic young man who encounters various misfortunes on his search for an ideal world. Having unfortunately been kicked out of his home for the love of Lady Cunegonde, Candide suffers through many natural and unnatural catastrophes during his travels. However, holding on to his claim that all is for the best, Candide travels the world abroad with a totally naïve attitude. Constantly being reunited with many of his peers, Candide suffers the cruelty of the Bulgar army, a tempest, a shipwreck, an earthquake, and an auto da fe'.
Candide's optimism, stemming from his tutor Dr. Pangloss, keeps him totally determined to find his lost love, Lady Cunegonde, and an ideal world. However, Voltaire takes Candide around the world to discover that, contrary to the teachings of his distinguished tutor Dr. Pangloss, all is not always for the best.
Likewise a naïf is the main character of "Forrest Gump" by Robert Zemeckis, which spans a period of three decades centered around a growing boy with a low IQ. Forrest manages to play an important role in every major historic postwar event except the moonwalk.
As the object of abuse by local bullies, Forrest discovers his one talent: running. He becomes an All-American, is present during the integration of his college, and is sent to Vietnam after being drafted into the army. Later, Forrest receives the Medal of Honor, is present during the anti-war movement, plays a crucial role in Watergate, and finally becomes a multi-million dollar business tycoon. Through all of this, Forrest holds one thing true in his mind: Jenny. Jenny is his first and only love. Next to his mother, she's the most important thing in his life, and the only thing he really wants. Yet, despite constant disappointments concerning Jenny, Forrest maintains his sweet-tempered, innocently naïve philosophy of life.
Voltaire and Zemeckis share a similar view concerning the corruptions within a society. While making a point that though corruption is evident, and life can be very uncertain, it's entirely up to the individual as to the outcome of his or her future.
Throughout their lives, Candide and Forrest experience just about everything that is humanly possible to endure. In the end,...