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The Garden Of Eden As A Structuring Device In Candide

1223 words - 5 pages

Candide by Voltaire is a novel that satirizes different aspects of medieval ideas, theories and generally the way of life. The Garden of Eden is used as a structuring device to show how people used to live in paradise and lost it buy trying to find an even better place. The plot takes place in the eighteenth century, on three different continents: Europe, South America and Asia. The main characters live in a beautiful castle which they loose by wanting to find a better place. Candide, the protagonist of the story, is a naive and irrational young man who keeps on loosing his perfect paradise for foolish reasons and ends up with only an illusion of the Garden of Eden. There are three main ...view middle of the document...

This shows how foolish people are; not to see what they have, and look for more. The castle in Westphalia is like the actual Garden of Eden in the bible, because it is a perfect place, were no one has to work hard, but gets everything they need to live in return. Once Adam and Eve were kicked out from this paradise, no human has ever returned to it during his lifetime. Same goes with Candide who had everything, education, a pretty house and a satisfying life but lost because of Cunégonde, and never returned to it again. But also like humans Candide tries to return to it. Voltaire satirizes this garden because he wants to show how foolish and naive humans are.Consequently Candide comes across the wonderful country, Eldorado. This place could be considered paradise; there are plenty of rubies, emeralds, gold nuggets, no greed, jealousy or injustice (like in the Garden of Eden). People are considered beautiful and almost perfect because they live so peacefully with each other. They have no worries and live very happy lives. The environment must also be fabulous because they have a gardener to trim their gardens, fountains have special waters and the public squares which are paved with cinnamon and precious stones. People believe in one god, and instead of asking him for things they only thank him because they have everything they need. Candide believes that Eldorado is the best of all possible worlds but it does not have Cunégonde therefore he must leave. He is presented by the King, with red sheep packed with provisions, gold and precious stones. However, as he gets further from Eldorado he starts losing his sheep, or is manipulated by sly men to give away his stones and gold for nothing. Eldorado was the perfect paradise but Candide lost it because he wanted to be with Cunégonde who chose to marry a governor. Another reason Candide left Eldorado is because he wanted to find a place where he will be rich but everyone else would poor so he could brag about how wealthy he is. Eldorado is used, to show that perhaps somewhere in the world there are people who see what they have and appreciate it, therefore one could say Eldorado is the satiric norm in the book because it is used to compare with the satirized things, to show how irrational and perhaps thoughtless they are. Like Candide...

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