Reviews, opinions, recommendations and other literary ramblings.
Quote of the week:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep." - William Shakespeare.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Candide by Voltaire- Part 1 A trip into the best of all possible worlds.
Among the greatest minds of the 18th
century, Voltaire´s witticism and keen intellect enabled him to become a
perennial philosophical and literary genius. His work was defined by
the sharp-edged social criticism, insightful knowledge and caustic
satire that earned him the hatred of the conservative institutions of
his time and the appraisal of the literary world. Candide is in no way
an exception to the rule.
are presented with the story of Candide, a noble hearted young man,
brought up in the household of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh of Westphalia.
The simple pleasures of his simple life consist solely in the teachings
of Pangloss, the family tutor, until he suddenly falls in love with
Cunégonde, the daughter of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh. His infatuation
quickly gets him kicked out of the Baron´s house and left to perish in
the midst of our cruel world.
a brief and yet most harrowing enlisting in the Bulgar army, he comes
to know that the castle of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh has been assailed
and all its inhabitants gruesomely murdered. However, the unexpected
encounter with his former tutor renews his long abated hopes and
eventually leads him to find a still living and still beautiful
Cunégonde, the love of his life.
series of murders serve as catalyzers for Candide´s adventures to come,
forcing him to face overseas pursuit, separation from his beloved
Cunégonde and unimaginable toils and hardships that he must endure if he
shall rescue his bride to be from peril and languishment.
extremely interesting story that compounds political satire, social
critique, a fantastical and yet charming plot, humorous wit and
philosophical acumen, Candide is a tour de force that vouches for the
vast talent and marvelous technique of one of the most brilliant minds
in French literature.
often than not, political satires cannot withstand the passing of time
without losing most of its perspicacity and freshness. Nothing could be
farther from the truth when it comes to this amazing story.
Voltaire wrote Candide in 1758, he was inspired not only by the social
absurdities of his time, but also by the misinterpretation of the
optimistic doctrines, giving birth to what he considered a callous and
inane new creed, utterly insensible to human suffering.
Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), a German mathematician and
philosopher, went along with the Christian doctrine in attempting to
give an optimistic explanation of life and the world we live in. In
approaching the issue of “why are there so many atrocities and
injustices in the world?”, they explained that, since we live in a world
in which the free will of man is its most powerful driving force, there
will always be a potential of good and evil; that since there is room
for choice there cannot be exemption from either of them and that such
world is better to live in than one devoid of freedom of action.
However, such belief carries hope and optimism in its core, since it´s
up to man to eventually supersede its flawed condition and reach a point
in which good will be its unique choice, despite the other paths that
may lie before him.
when Pangloss incessantly babbles that “all is for the best”, he
embodies the perverted and inane conception that the disciples of the
optimistic doctrines have misconstrued and began to senselessly spout
about. That is precisely what angered Voltaire and essentially led him
to write Candide, in hopes to expose the drones that claimed that the
foulest atrocities in this world indeed should have happened, and were
even beneficial, if one considered “the big picture”.
Other equally interesting topics can be found in this marvelous classic, some of which I shall discuss in the second part of this post. For now I can say without shadow of a doubt, that this is a deeply enjoyable story, with very profound motifs and an altogether humorous and riveting plot. Definitely a must read.