Utopia Voltaire's Candide Nowadays Is Considered to Term Paper

  • Length: 7 pages
  • Subject: Literature
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #23290882

Excerpt from Term Paper :


Voltaire's "Candide" nowadays is considered to be one of the most famous variants of a Utopia provided by authors that dedicated their works to the creation of a "perfect" society. As every book "Candide" has its plot- line, which goes through the whole book and with the help of which the author manages to show the controversy of the real world with an "ideal" one. The book by itself impresses the reader with the variety of contents and the way certain aspects are criticized by the author. The fact that "Candide" is a book who was given birth during the Renaissance, a period that worshiped beauty, makes it even more attractive for the reader to see all the ideas of this period denied. It is made with a very a fine satire and most of the time we do not see the events from the points-of-view of the characters but through the author's vision. It seems like the characters are static and we definitely feel the author deriding them in certain situations. It is possible to expect the personages to be a "background" for the message Voltaire tried to carry to our minds. Throughout Voltaire's "Candide" it is felt that the author wanted at least to say that without any misfortunes we would have never had the opportunity to feel real happiness and joy. Misfortunes are shown as a "path" to the better future. The book is at many points controversial, but still its main anti-utopian line is easily seen throughout the pages. Before starting analyzing and comparing the book let us take a brief overview of the book itself. The name of the main character of the book is Candide. "..You could read his character in his face. He combined sound judgment with unaffected simplicity; and that, I suppose, was why he was called Candide"(Voltaire, Candide p.1). Candide is a young man who faces a lot of troubles and various difficulties to achieve his main goal- to be with the woman he loves so desperately- Cunegonde. He survives his first trouble in the army of the Bulgars and then keeps going through various obstacles with different companions on his side. But let us get closer to the topic of our paper and approach Voltaire's utopia showed in the book. To start with it is necessary to choose a moment that would describe it in details. The point we want to stop on and start our discussion is the moment when Candide and his valet Cacambo arrive in the Country of El Dorado. El Dorado is the utopia of this book and it may be called its heart. Through the existance of this "perfect" society the author develops his point-of-view about our real world. In spite of the cruelty of our world and its ignorance it is still better than living in the ideal-world model of El Dorado. El Dorado was a place with ordinary houses built in "the manner of a European palace"

, children showing "contempt for gold and precious stones," a place where everybody is being extremely polite and "there is no necessity of having any money at all" (Voltaire, Candide p.79). The government of the country maintained the trade in El Dorado and there was truly no need for money, because it did not serve its purpose anymore. Everything was right in this El Dorado and the life's flow astonished with its tranquility and quiet happiness. It becomes understandable how they coped with preventing something external influencing their world, when the old man tells Cacambo: " ... none of the inhabitants of our little kingdom should ever quit it; and to this wise ordinance we owe the preservation of our innocence and happiness ... " (Voltaire, Candide p.80). Rocks surround the strange country in the book and this makes it inaccessible for European conquerors and their changes. The religion of the country is not the religion is our usual understanding it is a belief in God, where people do not need to pray anymore, for they had everything they wanted. Voltaire criticizes religion very clearly in this episode. The people in El Dorado are all of one opinion and are all equal with no courts to judge them or laws to control. A land without tyranny - that is how Voltaire depicts his utopian El Dorado and with the full picture of its perfection he shows it objectively without giving the reader the subjective additions that would make the perception of the country more emotional. In spite of the attractiveness of the utopia the author points out that a person having all these things and living this perfect life may still not be happy. It is apparent that Voltaire sees nobility and wealth as obstacles of being truly happy in life. For instance the moment when Candide leaves El Dorado with lots of jewels the reader is shown how unhappy he is at the same moment, because his beloved one is still far away: "..Candide was wholly occupied with the thoughts of presenting his sheep to Miss Cunegonde ... " (Voltaire, Candide p.82). Another situation shown before is when Cunegonde marries a different man because of the money he possesses. The easiness she become the wife of Don Fernando, the governor of Buenos Aires undermines our belief that she perhaps loves Candide. So, El Dorado, in spite of being a wonderful and theoretically accepted ideal for living is not what a man may need. In this utopia everybody is equal and what we call "being unique or being an individual" is wiped off. The expression of being different is deleted from the minds of utopian people. And though they are all apparently good people they do not cause the reader to feel any emotional openness towards them. We feel no sympathy, no regret from leaving these people, but it is even possible to say we expect the return. At the end Candide achieves his goal he gets Cunegonde and with their friends they find happiness in the simplicity of work. For the comparison we decided to take two famous works: Thomas Moore's "Utopia" and Thomas Campanella's "The city of the sun." Both of them provide two other descriptions of utopias and are of a great interest to the reader from the philosophical point-of-view. Starting with Thomas Moore's "Utopia" we face a similar description of a utopia that we have in "Candide." The book is all about a place were there is work for everyone and all the things that you can find there are not individual but are owned by the community. It is also the description of a perfect society that has no criminals and therefore no courts to judge them and no jails to imprison them. We observe Thomas Moore follow Voltaire's position concerning the labour. As "Candide" heroes found happiness in ordinary labour out of the utopian world, "Utopia" shows that people can live only through working hard and equally to each other. "Utopia" presents one more model of society's functioning in order to create a perfect encirclement to live in, referring to all spheres of life. Moore describes his utopian country free of war, jealousy and hatred. The work fulfilled by the people is not a work they do for themselves but for the well being of the whole society. Every single member makes an contribution in its development. Same as in "Candide" there is no inequality among people, because they are all the same and do the same things. It is not possible to say that being different from these people is a deviation, because for them is no right or wrong. The only thing that exists is their way of doing it and nothing else. So Voltaire's idea about the deletion of individuality is completely supported in Thomas Moore's "Utopia." The dialogues in "Utopia" are directed towards making clear of essence of arranging this perfect community.

The last work we are to analyze is the book of Thomas Campanella's "The city of the sun"

. He, as both of the previously mentioned authors do shows a utopian idea in his book. It is a model of the perfect existance of people in a society. It is a story of Genoese Sea-Captain who tells the Grandmaster of the Knights about the land he saw once and how much this land impressed him back than. W

hen you start reading this book the more you read it the more you realize it is definitely the influence of Thomas Moore's "Utopia." Something elusively familiar is felt in the beginning and is supported by the contents in general. The main difference from both" Candide" and "Utopia" lies in a more detailed description of the image of his utopia. Concerning the religion aspect it is necessary to outline that "The city of sun" had temples where people worshiped their God, while in "Candide" people carry God in them and do not pray for praying means asking and they do not need anything. Could be,…

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