In schools, classic works of literature can be perceived by students as boring, long, and a waste of time to read. However, Voltaire’s parody-like novella, Candide, or Optimism defies literary stereotypes as its satiric themes, dramatic plot, and na??ve protagonist unite to tell a story in a way no other works of the time did. These aspects of Candide both engage the reader and hold the power to tell meaningful messages about life.
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Voltaire wrote the philosophical comedy to relay the message that through all the terrible things in life, there is always something to be optimistic about, and also that nothing interesting can start in one’s comfort zone. Candide is a unique, entertaining, and thought-provoking work that everyone needs to read at least once in their lives.
Candide, the protagonist of Voltaire’s story, gains the reader’s sympathy and attention with his innocent and na??ve outlook on life. At the beginning of the story, Candide had a seemingly perfect life: he was comfortable, well-off, and uneasiness was not in his vocabulary. However, this life was not the definition of perfection to Candide. He was hungry for the thrill of taking risks and going on adventures, seeing the world outside of his box of perfection in Westphalia. This longing resulted in a quick-moving, intense series of tragic experiences for Candide, including witnessing the hanging of his own tutor, fires, and an encounter with a two-limbed slave. Yet, Candide’s flame of optimism still burned. Candide, originally appearing to be a simple, chronological story, contains hidden, complex aspects that make it a very impressive creation.
The unusual way Voltaire wrote Candide provides readers with a refreshing escape from other works of literature as well as from the seriousness of real life.
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