Sunday, May 11, 2014
Candide or Optimism
Candide means to be innocent, or somewhat naive, but it is also the title of one of Voltaire's novels. Voltaire's main aim was to mock the ideas of Leibniz, that all is best as can be in the world, and who somehow imply that nothing should be changed or improved in the world, because that's how it was meant to be. It is a very sarcastic and ironic novel which depicts the adventures of the anti-hero Candide and his beloved one, Cunégonde. As the title foreshadows, Candide lives a very easy life, surrounded by rich and supposedly wise people, like his teacher Pangloss, who teaches him all kind of idiocies that Candide automatically believes, and has internalized the idea that he lives in the best world ever. So when he's banned from his home for kissing Cunégonde, he has to face the real world, and all sorts of things happen to both him and Cunégonde.
Although the story is kind of harsh, there is something about it that makes it oh so funny, that you won't stop it until you're done with it. The descriptions, and the things happening are so ludicrous, and the lessons that Candide had to draw from them so unbelievably silly, that the whole story develops as a series of jokes, growing all the more ridiculous. Also, every chapter has a very long title that already tells the reader what is it going to be about, as if the events themselves are not that important after all, since you have a summary of it in the title. Not to mention how they, too, are very comical. Either way, the end is as good and funny as the rest of the story, since after all sorts of peripetiae he marries Cunégonde, who's become as ugly as can be, he's penniless, he lives on a farm that he has to cultivate himself, and still seems to believe that he lives in the best of worlds... I'll let you read it, I promise you'll laugh from beginning to end, and for the people who don't like to read that much, don't be afraid to try this one, since it is quite short and easy to read!
Have a great day, and keep your mind sharp!