Voltaire Candide Essay

1077 words - 5 pages

Seung (Peter) Baek His 1C: Dis 1FApr 15 2014History 1C:First PaperThe Unidentified GardenHow do you interpret the last line of Candide, "Let us cultivate our garden?Seung (Peter) In Baek: 804117200Fueled by the Enlightenment, the Eighteenth Century opened a new chapter for the "West to rule" (Russel, April 7th). All across Europe, revolutionary and radical philosophers advanced humanity into reason and away from old tradition. The enlightenment thinker's rushed to acquire knowledge and a sense of enthusiasm or hope for humanity predominated the continent. However, in Candide, Voltaire ends his satire with the scene of the mutualized and aged heroes of the tale. The gloomy and grotesque ...view middle of the document...

Ironically, although the Baron is dominant, his castle is described as a rudimentary outdated house that "even hung tapestry" (Voltaire, 1). The sarcastic tone found in the exposition criticizes the arrogance of the nobility and their outdated disintegrating social system. This bitter quality repeats in the Baron's fat lady weighting 350 pounds, representing the gluttony and greed in the aristocracy seen from Candide's father who could "not marry because he had been able to prove only 71 quarterings" (Voltaire, 1). Without logic there is no progress and the household is left to decay with the one in power fattened up by avarice. Through the follies seen in the aristocracy, Voltaire advocates for common sense, reason and a break away from tradition.The juxtaposition of holy religious morals to the unforgiving reality of the Church reveals the practices and superstitions of the old order to be absurd, irrational and contradictory. Pangloss and Candide are captured for promoting freedom of speech. Even more absurd, the "University of Coimbra and the religious order decide to "[burn] a few people alive…to hinder the earth from quaking" (Voltaire, 13). As Candide is forced to watch the death of his dear teacher while Candide is violently whipped, the illogicality of the ritual is contrasted to the charitable actions James the Anabaptist who was "never christened" (Voltaire, 6). Although, not part of the dominant faith, James is the only one who helps Candide out of a "rational soul" (Voltaire, 6). The contrast of the humanitarian act of James amplifies and highlight the irrationality of what the religious rituals entail and how not one christen helped Candide. Through this juxtaposition of morals, Voltaire suggests reason and charity is absent from the religious institutions, perpetuating religious zeal and insanity.Through the indirect characterization of...

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