Candide and The Interesting Narrative ofthe Life of Olaudah Equiano point out different roles of religiousconvictions about violent evil. By the time Voltaire wrote Candide, he was nolonger a Christian.
He believed there was not a rational basis for theChristian belief in God at work in the world. Whereas, Equiano’s experience ofslavery brought him to Christianity, which helped him make sense of how Godcould redeem an evil act such as slavery. After reading the short stories thereader can conclude that the view of Christianity is irrelevant in the sociallife of Voltaire, while Equiano believed that Christianity provided sufficientanswers to injustices like slavery.Candide studied under ProfessorPangloss, who taught him, we live in the best of all possible worlds.
Inthe beginning, Cunégonde seeks out to have affectionate affairs with Candide. Unfortunately,they were discovered, which caused Candide to be ejected from the castle.1This could symbolize the Biblical Fall. Like Eve, Cunégonde comes across the forbiddenknowledge of sex and shares it with another person.Candide made his way to Holland, after losingPangloss in a war. While in Holland, he begged for food and money but received onlythreats. He spoke to a priest who was preaching about charity. The dividebetween Catholics and Protestants explained in the hostile response of the priest.
A kind Anabaptist took him home, cleaned, fed, and helped him recover.Candide, thankful, expresses his repeated faith in Pangloss’ optimism. Shortly, Candide comes across Pangloss, whohad caught syphilis.2Pangloss told Candide that his hometown had been invaded, Cunégonde had been raped,they destroyed the castle, and slaughtered everyone. Candide helped Pangloss backto health, and they traveled to Lisbon. After they had arrived, an earthquake struck,killing thousands.3They survive, but were overheard discussing philological reasoning, and wereaccused of denying original sin and free will, elements that are important toCatholic doctrine.
The religious scholars of Lisbon determine that anauto-da-fé, a contemporary ritual for the punishment of sinners and heretics,is the best way to prevent further earthquakes. Pangloss is led to be hungfor denying original sin, and Candide, to be whipped for having listenedwith approval. Candide began to question Pangloss’ optimistic philosophy. 4An old woman comesacross Candide after his whipping and took care of him. The old womanturned out to be a caretaker of Cunégonde, and he was soon to be reunited with her.She was being sexually shared by a Grand Inquisitor, and a Jewish merchant.
5As each gentleman enters, Candide slayed each one.6Candide, Cunégonde, and the old woman fled to a village in the BuenosAires. The Governor wants to keep Cunégonde as his mistress.7Candide flees with Cacambo while Cunégonde stays with The Governor, because theassistants of the Inquisitor are about to land in Buenos Aires; The recurring stories of misfortune suggestthat suffering is a universal feature of human life. The old woman’s story is prevalentin the literature of the time: an authoritative person ends up in a lowersocial status. The old woman is missing a buttock, and Pangloss missing an eye.
They are terrible injuries but, they allow life to go on. In the old woman’sphilosophical reflections on human perseverance, there is a broader argument:that life is made up of constant suffering, injustices, stupidity, disruption,and motion, not rest.Candide and Cacambo travel to the Kingdom ofthe Jesuits, where Candide discovers that Reverend Cammandant, a young man, ofhis home kingdom.
As they reunite, their conversation takes an unexpected turnwhen Candide tells of his intentions of marrying Cunégonde, the Reverend’ssister. In human defense, Candide kills him, and he and Cacambo flee to thewilderness.8They are captured by savage Orillons, who plan to eat them.9Candide and Cacambo wander through thewilderness, soon reaching a society filled with precious metals and cheerfulpeople, but are not able to stay for very long.10The king assists them by giving them many riches and flock of red sheep.11Candide concludes that this must be the best of all possible worlds, thatPangloss described. He sends Cacambo to search for Cunégonde, promising to meethim in Venice.
As Candide is traveling to Venice his flock of sheep was stolenand a series of events happen which causes him to question abandoning hisoptimism.12Candide and Cacambo travel to Turkey, wherethey heard that Cunégonde was working as a servant.13On the ship, they find that Pangloss had been enslaved. Candide pays to have himfreed. After arriving, he freed Cunégonde and the old woman.
Cunégonde had becomeugly, but Candide still wished to marry her. They marry, and move to a smallfarm.14There, they complain about their misfortunes and discuss philosophy. Candidecomes across an old Turkish farmer, because of him, Candide is inspired toabandon the endless questions of philosophy. He concludes that while we arealive, “we must cultivate our garden.”15Voltaire agrees with Equiano that slavery isa terrible act, but Voltaire doesn’t agree about his religious convictions.Voltaire believed there was not a rational basis for the Christian belief inGod at work in the world. Whereas, Equiano’s experience of slavery brought himto Christianity, which helped him make sense of how God could redeem an evilact such as slavery.
Equiano’s narrative is a successful Christianconversion story although, much of the story tells about his experiences inslave trade. He begins by describing his homeland; he states that Jews andAfricans share a common culture.16Equiano emphasized the inferiority that African Americans felt from the Europeans,but explains that slavery was common amongst his own people. At an early age,he remembers being separated from his family, and being taken to Virginia.17He was astonished by the horrifying conditions the Europeans forced them into. Heobserved families being separated. The white people did not have any thought ofthe pain and distress this caused.
Michael Pascal purchased Equiano and tookhim to London. 18The Guerin sisters were relatives of Pascal and Equiano stayed with them. They instructedhim in the Bible and began to teach him to read and write, and took him to bebaptized.
19Equiano escorted Pascal on more voyages, where Equiano began to hope for hisfreedom. Pascal betrayed Equiano by selling him to Captain Doran, andstole everything Equiano’s had.20Doran sold Equiano to Mr. King, a Quakermerchant, who treated him with great respect and acknowledged his impressiveseaman skills.21Equiano participated in a series of voyages with Thomas Farmer. These voyagesinvolved the transport and exchange of slaves and other goods.
22Equiano began to develop his own commercial activities; Farmer allowed him threepence, which allowed him to slowly learn economics. Throughout their voyages,Equiano continually dealt with unfair treatment; white men refused to pay ortried to cheat him. He soon managed to save forty pounds enough for hisfreedom. King and Farmer persuaded him to stay with them.
Equiano observed situationswhere freemen were forced back into slavery. On a trip to Europe, Farmer grewill and died, making Equiano captain. He continued to travel and participate inslave trade, though he was hopeful to go back to England.23After being betrayed many times, he finally managed to obtaina certificate of good behavior from Mr. King and returned to England.Equiano contacted Miss Guerin, who helped himattain a trade as a hairdresser. 24He did not stay on land very long and soon went back to sea. He was unsatisfiedwith his questions about eternal life and the sinfulness he saw amongChristians all around him.
He began to struggle with his faith, but wanted tolearn how to deepen it. In Turkey, he became familiar with Christians whohelped him understand the Bible. He experienced a spiritual epiphany on his wayback to England. A vision of Jesus on the cross which proved to be a spiritualrebirth, defining his faith. On this trip, he unsuccessfully instructed MusquitoIndian prince about Christianity. Equiano helped Irving, but he wanted toreturn to England, but again he was betrayed.
Once again, he returned toEngland but returned to the sea shortly. He participated in an unsuccessfulvoyage to Africa to return slaves to their origin. He concludes by calling uponChristian feelings to make moral disputes to end slavery.25Christianity is irrelevantin the social life of Voltaire, while Equiano believed that Christianityprovided sufficient answers to slavery. Candideand Olaudah Equiano point outdifferent roles of religious convictions about violent evil. Voltaire agreeswith Equiano that slavery is a terrible act, but Voltaire doesn’t agree abouthis religious convictions.
Voltaire believed there was not a rational basis forthe Christian belief in God at work in the world. Whereas, Equiano’s experienceof slavery brought him to Christianity, which helped him make sense of how Godcould redeem an evil act such as slavery.1 Candide, 422 Candide,46- 483 Candide, 514 Candide, 535 Candide,54-566 Candide, 587 Candide, 678 Candide, 709 Candide, 7410 Candide, 7911 Candide, 8212 Candide, 8813 Candide,10114 Candide,11515 Candide,11916 Costanzo,Angelo. The interesting narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano.
Broadview Press, 2002. 55 17 Costanzo, Angelo, 7718 Costanzo, Angelo, 7719 Costanzo, Angelo, 9320 Costanzo, Angelo, 10921 Costanzo, Angelo, 15722 Costanzo, Angelo, 13023 Costanzo, Angelo, 16524 Costanzo, Angelo,180-18225 Costanzo, Angelo, 252-253