Orgon and Candide the Enlightenment Philosophers Believed Essay

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Orgon and Candide

The Enlightenment philosophers believed that God created the world, and as God is the most benevolent, capable mind possible, then the world must be the best possible world. Humans are incapable of understanding the role of evil in the world because they do not understand how the force that God set in place to govern the world. Therefore, when humans see bad things happening, they are unable to comprehend that every bad thing occurs for a greater good. This philosophy is grounded in a strong sense of cause and effect, the pursuit of which leads humans to misperceptions and, ultimately, to misplaced faith.

Orgon's misperceptions are so acute, that it leaves one wondering if his gullibility was native. Orgon's search for salvation brings him to set aside the cautions and warnings of his friends and fall completely for Tartuffe's flattery and trickery. Orgon's blind faith is driven by his obsession with Tartuffe and his willingness to shut out anyone and anything that threatens his belief. Tartuffe skillfully cements Orgon's belief in his goodness by listing his faults and exaggerating how he is perceived, and finally suggesting that Orgon forgive
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Damis. Orgon's response is to reject and mistrust everyone who faults Tartuffe, saying: "I know your motives; I know you wish him ill: / Yes, all of you-wife, children, servants, all- / Conspire against him and desire his fall, / Employing every shameful trick you can / To alienate me from this saintly man." ( Orgon is beset by an overwhelming desire to believe in the goodness of Tartuffe and, by association, in the accuracy of his perceptions.

Where Orgon's attribution of goodness was selective -- he caustically insulted the intentions of those who did not agree with him -- Candide belief in pre-ordained goodness was more scattershot. Candide's gullibility can be explained as an artifact of the sheltered existence he once lived. Coming upon Candide, who is barely alive after having run the gauntlet twice, the King of Bulgars learns that Candide is a metaphysician. The King pardons Candide, excusing him on the basis of his naivety and declaring him "ignorant of the world." (27) Candide believes that everything that happens is for the best in the world. This optimism causes him to look for the good in all things, a propensity…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bottiglia, W.F. (Ed.). (1968). Voltaire: A collection of critical essays. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice.

Moliere, Jean-Baptiste Poquellin. (1664). Tartuffe. Translated by Richard Wilbur. Department of English, Miami-Dade College | Kendall.

(2004, June 1). Voltaire. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing.

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