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Voltaire’s Candide

Candide Thesis Statements and Important Quotes

❶When struck by an earthquake we can hardly be concerned with the question whether we respond with our minds our entelechie or our being our ens. Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements for Candide by Voltaire that can be used as essay starters.


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Often also they form sequences themselves: Finally, there are examples where they occur in phalanxes, as in the following case:. It would be difficult to give a more perfect picture of total destruction, a condition, incidentally, under which the most violent actions are driving to the annihilation of action. In one of its aspects the world of Candide is submitting to action, is really absorbing action.

This action comes from so many varied, unexpected sources that it seems ill-defined, ill-directed, badly ordered. As it permeates living creatures, it does not add to their life, it tends rather to press the life out of them. It is cosmic energy which, in its uncontrolled, undirected aspects, kills life. Left to itself, it could easily wipe out the universe, or at least it could reduce life to unendurable torture. It is not, of course, left to itself.

There is a whole array of them in Candide. The active, creative quality of these participles is obvious in When so used it adds a condition, a qualification, as well as a continuation of action. This usage is extended and it, too, becomes an adjective: But the vast majority of these present participles push the action outward, often introducing additional action.

They represent the effort of the submerged universe to meet the energetic chaos of destruction with personal, willful, creative energy. Sometimes they, too, occur in sequences of adjectives: At other times, they counterbalance in the same sentence the cumulative effect of dead past participles: Or they add vitality to a still scene: And there is a final case where the present participle serves to prevent life from totally disappearing:.

Thus Candide's world is a world of action, varied, tense, contradictory, and paradoxical. It springs from many unknown sources and submerges those upon whom it falls; with constant pounding it beats out life. Whether it comes from forces in nature or in man-made institutions, it crushes and exasperates. Somehow one gets the impression that action produces energy and energy begets force and force is an evil thing. It must be met by another force which springs from another energy derived from counteraction.

For the outside action pressing upon the individual brings forth a response which is another action. It leaves behind the dead, past, traditional action, the absorbed evil action. It pushes forward, young, vigorous, eager, inexperienced, but confident that it can master by struggle, effort, and work the deadly past and the uncertain future.

Creation in Candide is certainly the answer to universal destruction. In this creative action, struggling to overcome destructive action, adverbs and adjectives also play their role. They characterize the actors, the objects involved, and the action. At the same time, they bestow value judgment on the phenomena.

In their own powerful way, they bestow character, that is to say, form to Candide's struggling universe; and they give exasperated testimony that as long as the human mind can attribute value judgments to the phenomena of existence life will go on. There is in Candide an extraordinary tendency to attach adjectives to nouns as if the adjectival quality were a guarantee for the existence of the object.

Many of them are colorless: Others contribute a trait of character: Still others add by their incongruity a touch of irony: This use of adjectives to characterize is in fact carried to an extreme. There are many instances where these adjectives are massed in phalanx, as in This massing very often occurs in Voltaire. This massing, however, is no more impressive than the adjective's variety when singly used, and no more impressive than its contrast with opposing adjectives or its paradox with the nouns or the situation it qualifies.

Surely the world of Candide is a world of chaos, a world of mutually consuming qualities, ironically and paradoxically qualified. It is not predominantly good nor bad—good in its potentialities, perhaps, bad in its actualities, certainly, and very full of strife, energy, effort. There is a type of adjective which conveys interpretation much better than the mass of qualifying adjectives we have just mentioned. In a sense it carries a value judgment of superior proportions, it has a superlative force in itself.

It attaches to its noun a quality, to be sure, but it carries a very definite intellectual judgment on the part of the speaker. And yet the judgment is partly irrational: Separately, these adjectives give a tone as well as a quality to an object. Collectively they combine to give a tone to the work. It should be stressed that the judgments they convey are not one-sided, as we are prone to presume in speaking of Candide. They suggest in addition to some irritation a tension that is stretched two ways: This tendency to enhance the tension value of nouns and consequently of the whole work is paralleled by a similar tendency in the use of adverbs.

We find in the conte a fair number of transition adverbs used not so much to qualify the action as to keep it running smoothly: In addition, there is a large number of manner adverbs which state how an action is performed: Corresponding to the group of superlative adjectives, they give a tone to verbs or adjectives; they add a gesture to the action also, sometimes a very startling one.

They carry a judgment not at all of one order, perform their role in producing tension, and present with much variety the paradox and irony of action. At times they appear massively as in Both adjectives and adverbs break into superlatives of the most amazing variety, as Miss McGhee has already shown in her Voltairian Narrative Devices. The superlative in fact dominates the whole story.

These effects in themselves build up a most violent tension, but even this tension is sometimes augmented by a massive buildup: At times, the adverbs augment other words which are by their nature diminished: Of all the words creating intensity tout is perhaps the most important. But it is used also in every conceivable way to embrace the whole universe as well as to intensify every phenomenon: He would be closer to the truth if he saw in this phenomenon the shattering effect which uncontrolled energy has upon the rational mind, particularly when mind has accepted responsibility for the nature of things.

However, logical consequence is not of importance here. When struck by an earthquake we can hardly be concerned with the question whether we respond with our minds our entelechie or our being our ens. It can be affirmed that a constant effort is made in Candide to keep judgments rational or at any rate rationally oriented.

Since many of the acts are irrational, however, many of the responses are irrational, too; consequently, many of the judgments are ironical, sarcastic, paradoxical, and absurd—just as life is. The superlative is an excellent plane for effecting these tones. The important thing to grasp, however, is not the value of a particular act, but the value of the critical act itself.

Thus there is in the implications of the work itself an inner structure—a vital soul—which is its meaning. It is phenomena, criticism, judgment. In all areas in which life becomes—philosophical, aesthetic, moral, social, religious—it becomes through the saving grace of creative criticism. That is the structural meaning of Candide, it is the meaning of Voltaire.

We have examined Candide as the result of a philosophical system, a series of historical events, and a temperament, taking care to show that these are active agents, creative forces which contribute to the molding of the work. We have analyzed its structure from the point of view of composition, style, and themes to see if there is harmony between that structure and the forces controlling it.

It is quite as difficult to find an effective method of penetrating ideas as to discover a method of analyzing style and at this point in research, we usually succumb to the temptation of describing what the author thought instead of striving to penetrate his thought and grasp the spirit which informs the work.

Even in describing his ideas we are inclined to take short-cuts, since a man can do a lot of thinking in sixty-five years and, if he is a Voltaire, he can put an inordinate number of his thoughts on paper. Our problem then becomes how to select, in Voltaire's complex of ideas, the ones that controlled Candide. There are, to our knowledge, only three ways of approaching this problem. Thus, Candide and the reader are forced to reject optimism.

Still, the novel does not conclude in favor of absolute pessimism either. Candide eventually finds happiness in hard work and rejects all questions of good and evil or optimism and pessimism. It is only when Candide gives up adventures in travel, love, and philosophy that he discovers happiness in tending his garden. Eldorado is a utopia—an imaginary perfect world. Eldorado does not suffer from religious persecution, petty squabbles, or social inequality.

Thus, Voltaire is optimistically proposing that human beings are capable of creating a just, peaceful society. At the same time, the kingdom is almost inaccessible to outsiders, and its king explains that that is the only way it can remain perfect. Thus, a good society is attainable only if it excludes the vast majority of humanity. In addition, the jewels and gold that litter the streets of Eldorado activate common greed in Candide, who has displayed little lust for money prior to entering the kingdom.

Aside from attacking some popular movements in his contemporary philosophy, one of the biggest targets of criticism in Candide is the Church in this case the Catholic Church.

By creating characters who are corrupt and greedy, Voltaire exposes the hypocrisy of religion and debunks its status as holy or in any way sacred.

For this essay, you can examples of hypocritical characters such as the Inquisitor who has a lover and the Friar who steals jewels among others. Throughout most of the novel he blissfully skates through as he is confronted with war, illness, madness, and general malaise without thinking too much about it. Because of his capacity to think he is living the best of all worlds, this philosophical groundwork begins to crumble slowly and it is only at this point that Candide becomes a truly developed character.

In order to develop, a character must change the way he sees his world. For this essay you can argue either way; you can say that Candide did eventually develop and become a rounded as opposed to flat character or that he never did—that he simply moved from one optimistic way of living to another. If you are still looking for more insights about Candide, particularly in terms of how the work relates to the ideas of the Enlightenment,. This list of important quotations from Candide by Voltaire will help you work with the essay topics and thesis statements above by allowing you to support your claims.

All of the important quotes from Candide listed here correspond, at least in some way, to the paper topics above and by themselves can give you great ideas for an essay by offering quotes about other themes, symbols, imagery, and motifs than those already mentioned. All quotes contain page numbers as well.

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Free Essay: Voltaires's Candide In Voltaires?s Candide, the main character, Candide, fails to live happily because he is looking outside of himself and his. Candide essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Candide.

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Free Essay: Candide is a humorous, far-fetched story satirizing the optimism promoted by the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment. Voltaire uses satire. Free Essay: Successful Use of Satire in Voltaire's Candide Voltaire's Candide is the story of how one man's adventures affect his philosophy on life. Candide.