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Word Count: 1,379
Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire in his satirical masterwork Candide critiques both society and humanity wit little mercy The author obviously seeks to expose all of the human races self-deceptions and weaknesses but he does so with great humor Voltaire gives delight with his humor while planting the deeper message about the fallibility and corruption of humanity This contradiction holds the power of Voltaires writing Candide provides a horrific portrait of the human condition but it does so with preposterous and outlandish humor Voltaire especially intends to criticize the popular idea of his era that sees a rational order in the world Voltaire shows how the claim of a rational universal order avoids the hard problems of living in a world where human beings have become liars traitors and so on 335 At the same time Voltaire is not so much the pessimist that he holds no hope for any sort of improvement or salvation on the part of human beings For example after putting his protagonist through every sort of awful predicament Voltaire allows Candide the positive goal of starting and cultivating a garden 402 Yes Voltaire is saying there is much corruption in humanity but there is also at least a glimmer of hope that individual human beings can overcome that corruption survive their suffering and lead some sort of productive and responsible lives Voltaire leaves it up to readers to decide for themselves just how much weight they might give this optimistic conclusion in light of the horror upon horror which led up to that happy ending Voltaire gives Candide and his companions a very bumpy ride before they arrive at their relatively happy destination Candide is the incurable optimist always believing the best about human beings Voltaire portrays him as optimistic by nature His features admirably expressed his soul he combined an honest mind with great simplicity of heart 336 Candide is instructed in the ways of the world by the philosopher
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