In one of his most famous works, Candide, Voltaire leaves no stone unturned in terms of what he satirizes. Though a great many topics are touched upon, Voltaire ultimately uses Candide to satirize the philosophy of optimism offered by the German philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. By examining Voltaire’s satire of armies, we can see that he uses the pointless atrocities and violence in Candide as a basis to discredit the German philosophy of optimism.
The first instance in which Voltaire utilizes armies to discredit the philosophy of optimism occurs shortly after Candide is banished from Westphalia. After simply toasting to the good health of the Bulgarian king, soldiers handcuff him and take him to their regiment. Here he is trained as a soldier and beaten, “they gave him thirty blows with a ...