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Word Count: 983
Candide or Optimism was written by Franois Marie Arouet Voltaire during the French Enlightenment In this period intellectuals in France known as the philosophes sought to apply reason to the laws of nature Candide follows the travels of a young German who has been expelled from his comfortable existence in the castle of the Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh for a romantic encounter he had with the Barons pleasing daughter Although he might not have been a pessimist himself Voltaire presents in Candide a pessimistic response to the optimism of the earlier part of the 18th Century Voltaire uses Candides story as an opportunity to satirize the optimistic philosophy present in the origins of the Enlightenment Philosophical thinkers such as Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Alexander Pope had proposed that everything in the world is good and that all events are for a reason part of Gods divine plan Candide is part of a philosophical backlash that prevailed in the latter part of the century to this optimism of the earlier 18th Century Voltaire lived in a period of deep pessimism in France So says Voltaire in 1744 People are always crying that this world is in the process of degeneration Although a part of the philosophical movement of his day Voltaire did not dispel all hope for the human race Man as he said also possessed for his species a natural benevolence which one never sees in beasts Voltaire however questioned the earlier optimism and went as far as to question the existence and perfection of a God in a seemingly imperfect world Furthermore he points out corruption and hypocrisy in the church of this God He finally points out the useless of Philosophy altogether Candide listens to the philosophy of his friends throughout the story but eventually finds happiness in the simple thoughtless life of a gardener Doctor Pangloss Candides close friend and tutor is representative of the optimistic thinkers of the early
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