Essays /

Candide Essay

Essay preview

Through Candide’s perplexing adventures and enlightening encounters, Voltaire illuminates the numerous diverse cultures of which Europeans consider themselves superior. Yet rather than supporting the foreign practices of cannibalism, bestiality, and the abolishment of priests, Voltaire is ridiculing the Europeans’ own methods of torture in an abusive social hierarchy. Therefore, while freedom of expression and a consensus of the majority constitute faucets of good behavior, the European practice of elitist rule and inequitable punishments is revealed as unjust. This criticism suggests the need for reform by deriving authority from somewhere other than the traditional roles of the royalty, clergy, and nobility, a rather radical move at the time.

Voltaire at first reveals the fault of Europeans through his description of the savage land of Oreillon. Upon their dissent from Paraguay, Candide and Cacambo come across two women, completely nude, who cry out and “spryly” run away from two monkeys who snap “at their buttocks” (73). Instantly sympathetic, Candide shoots his musket and kills the monkeys, thinking that he has redeemed himself from earlier sins by saving these distressed women. However, to his surprise he discovers that he has just killed the ladies’ lovers. Without questioning the practices of this foreign society, Candide reacts based on his own perceptions of right and wrong. His actions reflect the naivety of Europeans concerning what is thought to be normal based on their own “superior” culture. As punishment for Candide’s rash actions, the Oreillons attempt to roast the travelers over a spit to eat, justifying this through the proclamations that Candide and Cacambo are Jesuits and thus deserve to die. This behavior is explained by Cacambo as being “appropriate” because “if we Europeans do not exercise our right to eat others, it is because we have other ingredients for a good meal” (pg. 74). He recognizes that each society contains its own equally valid practices which cannot be altered or condemned by those who think they are predominant. In addition, Voltaire is not justifying that bestiality and cannibalism constitute a righteous society, but rather satirically commenting on the Europeans own practices, for it would be hypocritical to condemn these practices without evaluating whether ...

Read more


-53 1999 52 73 74 79 97 abb abl abod abolish abus across act action addit adher admir advanc advantag adventur agre ah allegi allow also alter although alway anoth answer appear approach appropri arrest arriv art aspect assembl assert assist assum attempt attribut author away bacon bad baffl baron base basic basqu bedford/st behavior belief believ belittl benefit besid best bestial bewild binari bizarr bodi born boston bound briberi british burn burnt busi buttock buy cacambo candid cannib cannot captur castl catholic caus centuri chicken choos church citi citizen civil claim class clergi come comment commit common commonsens communic communiti compar comparison complet compon concern condemn confus consensus consent consid consist conspir constant constitut consum contain contemporari contrast contribut convict court creation cri crime crimin critic cultur cunegond daili danger daughter de death debat decent decid dedic deeper defi delight delinqu demonstr deni depend deriv descript deserv despic despit determin diamond die disciplin discov disgust dissatisfact dissent distress divers divin dorado due earlier earthquak eat eaten educ eighteenth el eldorado elect elev elimin elit elitist embrac emerald emul enact encount encourag enemi enforc engag enlighten enough equal equit establish europ european evalu even everi exampl exclaim execut exercis exil explain express facilit fact faculti far fate faucet fault feast featur fellow fervent fight figur final fire first forc foreign form formul found free freedom french furthermor general generous genuin give godchild godmoth goe gold good govern greedili grow guid guillotin haphazard happi harm haughtili hero hesit hierarchi hometown howev human humbl hypocrit idea ideolog illumin illustr imagin imping inconsequenti inconsider inequit ingredi inn innoc instanc instant institut intellectu interest interject introduc ironi jesuit judgement justifi kill king kiss lack ladi land later law leader least lectur led legitim legitimaci less life like lineag lisbon local long loui lover made main maintain major man mani manipul manner marquis marri martin mass mate may meal mean meanwhil men method misconduct monarchi money monk monkey moros move much murder musket must naiv naiveti nation natur near necessari necessarili need nobil nonbeliev nonsens norm normal notabl nude number numer offens offic old one oppon oppos order oreillon organ orthodoxi other pangloss paradox paraguay pari parolignac patronag pavement peasant penalti penetr penniless peopl perceiv percept perplex persecut person perturb pg phenomenon physic place pleas ploy portray portsmouth portugues power practic prais preach predomin present preserv prevent priest prison privileg probabl proclam proper propos protect provinc punish question quit radic rank raptur rash rather re reach react realiz reason recogn redeem reduc reflect reform religi religion remark remov repres reveal ridicul right righteous roast role royalti rubi rule run sacr sacrific said sarcast satir savag save scandal scenario scene season second secur seek seem seen seiz self self-preserv send sever shoot similar sin sinc sire slander slow small snap social societi sole someth somewher sourc spit spread spryli state statur status stay step still strang stricter strike structur success suffer suggest superior support surpris surrend symbol sympathet take taught ten term therefor think thirti though thought thousand three thunder thunder-ten-tronckh thus time togeth told tortur toward tradit travel treasur trial tronckh two uncontest undermin unfair univers unjust unlik unreason unsubstanti upon valid valu ventur victim view villag voltair walk war wealth welfar well westphalia whether whomev will without women word worker world would wrong xvi yet