Friday, December 6, 2013

Thoughts on Candide

Overall I really enjoyed Candide. Even if Voltaire suggests a more communistic society, I still admire his effective use of satire. I like how he criticizes the complacency of humanity, the aristocratic "natural" superiority by birth, and the ultimate superficiality of the world. He highlights the corruption of the church through the Baron's melodramatic outbursts. He uses the contradicting philosophies of Pangloss and Martin to underline the rightful medium between the two through Cacambo and the Old Woman. I now understand his parody of the original sin. Believing that man has been cursed from the beginning is not only pessimistic, but also an excuse for allowing evil acts to occur. By separating evil from the original sin, he holds humans accountable for their actions.

5 comments:

Megan Hoolahan said...

I've always really enjoyed the use of satire, which made Candide so interesting to me. One of my favorite pieces from last year was a Modest Proposal. I really enjoy the way that both Voltaire and Swift critique all the superficialities of society. One funny thing about the two pieces is that Swift satirically uses cannibalism as a solution for over population, which presents cannibalism in a more negative light. Voltaire seems to justify cannibalism (not support it though). Voltaire doesn't want to spread cannibalism to Europe, but he does critique Europeans for calling the natives savages. Whose business is it what other societies eat? Just because we don't eat our enemies doesn't mean we can call others savages for eating theirs.

Brooke M. Hathaway said...

One of the things I really liked about Candide was the aspects of society Voltaire criticized that you mentioned. I think what made the satires most enjoyable for me was the fact that I agreed with most of them, such as the corruption of the Church, superiority through birth, war, ect. It wasn't necessarily my favorite work we've read, but I definitely appreciated it for it's commentary on society.

Kincy GIbson said...

I kept thinking of Dante's inferno as I read Candide. They both target their contemporaries who they didn't like. Dante's audacity to write that the people he didn't like were demons shocked me, but I found Voltaire's targets to be amusing. I thought his attacks toward Leibniz were so exaggerated that they were hilarious. My favorite scene is when Jacques drowns but Pangloss tells Candide not save him because the bay was created for him to drown in.

Amy Clement said...

I really enjoyed Candide. It seemed like each plot development was more absurd than the one before. My favorite scene was definitely the monkeys. Although it seems so silly and may be difficult to understand in terms of Voltaire's intended symbolism, the scene reenforces the theme that Candide seems unable to understand situations different from his own and also shows Cacombo's rationalism.

Joseph D'Amico said...

I really enjoyed Candide as well. That's an interesting point about Voltaire suggesting a communist society, I never would have thought of that. I most liked the way he made fun of the church, especially the jabs at the Grand Inquisitor. I also agree with Brooke's point about the targets of the satire being (mostly) deserving of the insults. The only one I'm not sure was a deserving target is Leibniz, though the grossly oversimplified version of his philosophy was hilarious; however, I might be a little biased because I really like calculus, but whatever.