El Dorado Explored: Explains How El Dorado Was A Utopia And What Effect It Had On Candide. It Also Explains How Eldorado Is A Counter For The Evils Of Europe

1754 words - 8 pages

El Dorado ExploredIn chapter XVII, Candide and his manservant, Cacambo, enter the country of El Dorado. Here, Voltaire takes the opportunity to further satirize governments, religion, philosophy, and war. All of the religious figures Candide encounters throughout the story are corrupt and sexually promiscuous even though they have taken vows of chastity. El Dorado is a counter for all of the evils of Europe. He uses El Dorado rhetorically to contrast the vices of the real world. If you had not noticed the insanity of the Europeans in the world Voltaire paints, El Dorado, certainly gives a frame of reference.At the beginning of the story, Candide is taught from very early in life by ...view middle of the document...

The country is cultivated equally to provide pleasure and to produce the necessities of life. He comments that it is a country preferable to Westphalia. Since Candide has always maintained that Westphalia was the best of all places, the reader can easily note the impression that the beauty of El Dorado makes upon Candide. He is well traveled and has only wished to return home, yet upon seeing El Dorado; he thinks it is more beautiful than his home.After traveling a short distance, he and Cacambo notice that riches are everywhere. Gold is on the highways and children are playing with precious stones as if they were common stones. They assume that the children must be the children of the king and wander past them. They eat at an inn and are surprised to find that they are not required to pay, as it is government run and is there to feed anyone traveling. The food seems exquisite, but they told that the fare is not all that good since they are only a poor village. They are in El Dorado, a place almost impossible to get to. It is a closed system that hardly ever sees anyone from the outside world. El Dorado is a country that differs from all other places on the planet because it lacks want. Everything exists in abundance. Voltaire mentions clothing or furniture made of hummingbird down in a number of places in the text. The idea that there would be so much hummingbird down that you could stuff couches with it is used as a metaphor for the plenty that the people of this country enjoy. Even though the people there have some knowledge of the outside world and the fact that the Europeans would kill them all for the pebbles and dirt of the land, they are not corruptible. There is a single religion, no war, no crime and everyone has what they need to live comfortably. The fact that there is a law that no one of the country of El Dorado may ever leave seems strange since if it is so perfect, who would want to? Candide comments again that they are possibly in the part of the globe that everything is right, since there must be such a place. Until this point, he has had no basis of comparison between European life and anything else. He had no way of knowing that anything could possibly be better than in Westphalia, particularly since things he immediately experienced were so much worse.Here, Candide makes his first departure from the philosophy that he has believed all his life and says that he had often perceived that things went very ill in Westphalia.His visit to El Dorado has opened his eyes to the idea that perhaps everything that he has been taught was wrong and that he should reassess his philosophy. He immediately looks for information about and asks to speak to someone that can answer all his questions about El Dorado. Candide is taken to an old man who has retired from court. Candide asks many questions, some of which are embarrassing since his frame of reference varies so much from the native's point of view. When the man is questioned whether...

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