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Word Count: 1,250
In writing Candide Voltaire had six major themes which are optimism the problem of evil the role of fate or providence free will an attack on religion and the importance of work Voltaires satire of philosophical optimism is one of the major issues of Candide Throughout the story satirical references to the best of all possible worlds contrast with natural catastrophes and human wrongdoing A question that has been a great source of debate is what this destruction of optimism implies Does it imply the triumph of pessimism Is the conclusion of Candide a pessimistic withdrawal from a corrupt world Or is its affirmation of work a modest but nonetheless hopeful commitment to life and change This idea was labeled meliorism by others and its chief tenet was the belief that people can actively work to create a better world There is much evidence in Voltaires life and later works that he believed in meliorism Some readers have seen the problem of evil as the central issue of Candide more important than Voltaires satire of excessive optimism Evil in its many forms is something that Candide must constantly confront It can take the form of a natural disaster such as the Lisbon earthquake More often it is man-made the cruelty of slavery and the Spanish Inquisition the savagery of war even greed and dishonesty Candide is always questioning how and why such evils exist In Candide Voltaire attacks not only the blanket optimism of Dr Pangloss but the religious notion of providence the idea that there is a divine will guiding earthly events The fact that good and bad alike suffer and die seems to be evidence that God is not in charge Moreover there seems little indication that any intelligible rational design can be found in lifes progression from disaster to disaster Things seem to happen at random as Candide Cunegonde and
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