In Voltaire’s Candide, he expressed a fast amount of satire and philosophical optimism within the characters and book as a whole. The principles of optimism, in Candide, were first stated by Candide’s mentor, Pangloss, a man that strictly followed his philosophy. One of the basics to his philosophy was that, everything happens for a reason and it must be the best reason. Voltaire satirized this philosophy in the book by showing how absurd it was to have these optimistic ideals, which he showed through his characters and other satirical ideals.
Pangloss and Candide had suffered and witnessed and experienced a wide variety of torchers, unjust executions, rapes, disease, and evil people. These horrific acts did not serve to do any good, but showed only the cruelty and folly within humanity and the outrageous indifference of the natural world. Pangloss had trouble finding justification for the terrible things in the world, but his philosophy leads him to think it was meant to happen.
Voltaire basically criticized this instruction of philosophical thought because of its faulty optimism, an optimism that appeared absurd for the characters that endured the tragedies. Pangloss was basically made into a parody, making fun of philosophers whose so called philosophy’s have had no real effects on the world. The name of his instruction was, metaphysico-theologo-cosmolo-nigology, another example of how Voltaire believed such idle thinkers to be over exaggerated with there ideals.
Voltaire being the man he was, even attacked religion within Candide, religious hypocrisy, Voltaire did not spare neither Catholics or Protestant.
The Dutch’s orator had embodied the pettiness of clergymen who argued over doctrines, while the people around them had suffered the ravages of poverty and war. The orator cared more about converting his own men to his organized religious views instead of trying to save them from social evils. Another example of the organized religion was from the Anabaptist Jacques. The Anabaptists were the Protestant sect that rejected the baptizing of infants and other religious ideals. Voltaire was generally suspicious of religion and seemed unusually sympathetic to the beliefs of the Anabaptist. Jacques was one of the most kind and justified characters in Candide, yet he was also realistic about the faults humans contained. He still acknowledged mankind’s greed and cruelty, while also still offering kind acts of charity to those in need.
Jacques, unlike Pangloss, was a philosopher who would hesitate when it was required of him to take an action, unlike Pangloss who left things how they were. At the end of Candide, all of the main characters reunited at a farmers house and worked together cultivating in his Garden. The Garden had kept his family away from the evils of the outside world which he knew little about, which then did the same for Candide and the others. The Garden had related to the Garden of Eden Mentioned in the Bible, and Candide and the others were based on Adam and Eve. They were now safe and were commanded to work the ground from where they came, same as God told Adam and Eve.
The absurdity of Voltaire’s use of optimism to make fun of religion and philosophers ideals is what gave Candide, its uniqueness. He expressed his own version of how the Enlightenment was not just reason, which then popularized his own form of work which was short and easy to read.