In Voltaires Candide the issue of humans being confused creatures is seen through the main character, Candide. Like Candide many wander searching for ultimate happiness which they sometimes mistake for wealth, beauty, or power. In some cases, people become so obsessed with such desires that they lose consciousness of morals. Often resulting in them stealing, lying, or even killing to obtain such needs. In Candides case it was Cunegonde which he thought could fill the void of happiness; although he later learned that happiness comes from oneself.
Money is the common desire among most people. Simply because it allows one to live an easier life, a life which one is guaranteed shelter, food, and better health. The quote the good Pangloss had often proved to me that the goods of the earth are common to all men , that each has an equal right to them p34 illustrates Candides reaction to having
Cunegondes pistoles and diamonds stolen and how money for survival will cause a desperate person to steal. The line My lady you have seventy – two quarterings and not a penny; it depends on you alone to be the wife of the greatest lord in South America, who has a very handsome mustache; is it for you to pride yourself on an invincible fidelity? p42 depicts how people will consider having money under the worst circumstances.
In addition, money can become like a god to anyone who lacks love for
themselves. For example, a person may use money to buy friends, approval, or respect. Moreover, one can become so obsessed about having materialistic wealth which brings them short -lived happiness that they turn into a compulsive shopper. The phrase Im going to buy something to make myself feel better is one echoed especially in the United States where mass consumers are popular. In brief, inner happiness can not be replaced by mundane riches.
Beauty is another shared desire by people. Good looks are often equated with respect and intelligence. Sometimes people that are not attractive are overlooked as having any human worth. The truth is that it is not outer beauty, but inner beauty which correlates with the notion of self happiness. Thus a person that is beautiful can not be content unless they are happy with themselves just as a person that is not attractive.
Furthermore, the lines I grew in beauty in the midst of pleasures, respect, and
hopes. Already I inspired love, my bosom was forming; and what a bosom! White, firm,
sculptured like that of the Venus de Medici. And what eyes! What eyelids! What black
eyebrows! The women who dressed and undressed me fell in to ecstasies when they
looked at me in front and behind, and all the men would have liked to be in their
place.p36 illustrates an obsession with beauty. Clearly, the comparison to a Venus
sculpture, which were made as objects of gaze, and ones body emphasizes a true fixation
with outer beauty. In short, the old women narcissistic quality is one that does not bring
eternal happiness because once her beauty faded she lost happiness.
Power is also like money in that it is necessary for survival. Similarly, when people
have power they feel happy by preventing unwanted effects from happening. However, when a person becomes disillusioned with power it leads to terrible misfortunes. For example oppression, war, rape, and death are all outcomes from an obsession with power that are depicted in Candide. Throughout the book, the outcomes of war are a central focus and the lines they slaughtered my father and brother and cut my mother into pieces. A big Bulgarian six feet tall, seeing that I had lost consciousness at the sight of
this set about raping me.p30 prove this. In a like manner, the old women shares the same
ill luck as Cunegonde when she is raped and witnesses the killings of her soldiers, mother,
ladies of honor, and others. To sum up, power can be used for protection as Candide
utilized it to defend himself from Senor Don Issachar, but when it is used to maliciously
harm it is no longer moral nor does it grant self happiness.
Lastly, the book Candide vividly describes the horrid outcomes of relying on wealth, beauty or power to fulfill self happiness. The characters help teach how it is common to desire, but wrong to obtain needs unjustly. Although Candides want differed in it being Cunegonde he still realized that like money, beauty, or power another can not offer self happiness.