Historical Context in Candide
The Enlightenment was an intellectual and philosophical movement in 18th century Europe. Voltaire uses his narrative to critique certain ideas and philosophies made prevalent during this time. Most prominently, Voltaire critiques philosopher G.W. von Leibniz, who believed that the world was created to be the best possible world. Candide illustrates violence and brutality to reject such an optimistic view of reality. Voltaire’s narrative serves as a critique of other predominant issues of the 18th century, including religious oppression, political tyranny, sexual violence, and financial corruption.
Historical Context Examples in Candide:
"the manufacture of Persian stuffs which they make in Holland..." See in text (Chapter III)
"I trampled upon the crucifix in four voyages to Japan..." See in text (Chapter V)
"not such as that of 1610 in the month of May, but such as that of 1594 in the month of December..." See in text (Chapter XXII)
"but as for his pious Æneas, his strong Cloanthus, his friend Achates..." See in text (Chapter XXV)