The character Candide undergoes numerous terrible experiences. While in Lisbon, he is chosen...
In Voltaire's Candide, satire of the philosophy of optimism put forth by Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz. This philosophy states that since God created the world and God is perfect, then everything in the world is ultimately perfect.
The character Candide undergoes numerous terrible experiences. While in Lisbon, he is chosen to be a human sacrifice, but before he can be burned, Candide is saved by an old woman. This woman relates her tragic life story: She has been a slave, she has lost one buttock, been beaten, and has had to constantly labor and travel. But, she tells Candide,
I've wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but I still love life. That ridiculous weakness [optimism] is perhaps one of our most pernicious inclinations. What could be more stupid than to persist in carrying a burden that we constantly want to cast off, to hold our existence in horror, yet cling to it nonetheless, to fondle the serpent tht devours us, until it has eaten our heart?
Another Frenchman, Moliere--the French love satire and farce!--wrote many a farce. One such farce is Tartuffe which parodies the religious zealot. Tartuffe, a Puritanical character who feigns self-sacrifice in order to win favor with a wealthy man, is actually a hypocrite bent upon winning the fortune of the man. When the gentleman's wife informs him that Tartuffe has made advances toward her, he refuses to believe her. So, she tells him to hide under a table while she entices Tartuffe into the room. When Tartuffe comes and makes sexual advances upon her, the scene turns farcical with its physical action, and coarse wit over characterization.
Tartuffe: There is a science, lately formulated,/Whereby one's conscience may be liberated,/And any wrongful act you care to mention/May be redeemed by purity of intention..../Meanwhile, just place on me your full reliance./Assuage my keen desires, and feel no dread: The sin, if any , shall be on my head.
Elmire (the lady) coughs loudly so that her husband will emerge from under the table and save her. But he does not. Tartuffe remarks that she has a bad cough. Still no response.
Elmire continues to cough, but no help comes. So, she says,
If this is sinful, if I'm wrong to do it,/So much the worse for him who drove me to it./The fault can surely not be charged to me.
She entreats Tartuffe to go to the door and make sure her husband is not out there. As he does so, Elmire leans down to Orgon, her husband, who finally emerges from under the table. She ridicules him,
What, coming out so soon? How premature! Get back in hiding, and wait until you're sure. Stay till the ned, and be convince completely; We mustn't stop till things are proved concretely.