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Voltaires most classic work, Candide, is a satiric assault on most everything that was prevalent in society during the authors lifetime. The entire novel can be regarded as a bleak story where every character compares life stories to see whose life is worse. Just when the novel cannot get anymore morbid or depressing, it does, to a much greater degree. While Candide is generally considered a universal denunciation, it is optimism that Voltaire is attacking to the greatest degree. However, there are numerous other satirical themes throughout the novel worth discussing. These other areas of mockery include aristocratic snobbery, religious bigotry, militarism, and human nature.There is good reason that Voltaire was so fed up with optimism, or more specifically, Leibnizian optimism. During the decade in which Candide was originally composed, this brand of what Voltaire considered ludicrous optimism was in full swing. This branch of optimism gets its name from Gottfried Leibniz, one of the rationale leaders of the day springing off of Descartes. This optimism states that there is evil in the world, but that reason could explain evil. He believed that there were certain truths even God could not alter, such as two plus two equaling four. Since this has to be the case, there were limits when God created the universe, thus he was working with an already flawed system. Leibniz goes on to say that this being the case, a perfect world is impossible, but Earth is the best of all possible worlds. Now, while Voltaire was hearing that everything is for the best from his contemporaries, there were numerous drastic things going on in Europe and his life. There was a tremendous earthquake killing 100,000 people in Lisbon, the bloody and savage Seven Years War, and he was dealing with the death of his close companion and mistress of fifteen years. While all these terrible things were happening, it is no wonder Voltaire had a little problem...

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