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What makes El Dorado such a utopia?Candide by Voltaire

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mparish1 | Honors

Posted February 6, 2011 at 10:59 AM via web

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What makes El Dorado such a utopia?

Candide by Voltaire

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 7, 2011 at 2:24 AM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter XVII of Voltaire's famous satire, Candide and his servant Cacambo, in desperate straits, reach Eldorado where they are amazed at the riches, as well as the cultivation of the country for both utility and aesthetic pleasure.  As they enter a village, the two men notice children playing quoits happily, using balls of gold and precious gems as carelessly as if they were stones.  At a resplendent house, they smell delicious cooking and hear delightful music.  When Cacambo approaches the house and hears his native tongue spoken, he tells Candide that he will be his interpreter.  They are graciously invited to have dinner with the owners of the home, who are amused when Candide and Cacambo offer to pay for their meal with the "stones" of Eldorado.

Eldorado is a land of plenty where no one wants for food or any of the necessities of life.  They all worship one God; everyone is a priest so there is no need for the hierarchy of a traditional religion:

"What! You have no monks who teach, argue, rule, plot, and burn people who don't agree with them?"

"We'd be mad if we did," said the old man.  "We all agree with each other here, and we don't know what you mean when you talk about your monks."

As the two men are shown around the town, they see buildings that rise to the clouds, and market places adorned with everything one could want. When Candide asks where the law courts are, he is told that there are none; neither are there any prisons. Then, after their tour, Candide and Cacambo are invited to a meal at the royal palace where His Majesty allows them to kiss him on the cheeks as though he were a friend.  At the dinner table, all the conversations are "sparkling" and witty.  Indeed, in Eldorado everyone is content; there is no greed, no envy or jealousy, no lust, no false pride--none of the seven deadly sins so fatal to happiness and spiritual progress.  Clearly, Eldorado is a utopia. 

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