Can someone please explain the significance of the el'dorado sequence and how it contrasts to the rest of the world in Candide?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Chapter XVII is the chapter in which Candide and the others reach the land of Eldorado; there they find precious jewels everywhere.  Everything is beautiful.  "Here's a better country than Westphalia!" exclaims Candide.  He and his companion find that all the inns are run for free.  With a society in which there is no religious discrimination because there is no organized religion, the people live in harmony.  In fact, Eldorado is the "country where everything goes well," a utopia; however, utopias like Eldorado exist only by excluding the intrusion of others. But, Candide, finally in a perfect world, rejects it.

Added to this flaw, the jewels awaken greed in the heretofore innocent Candide.  Now, he wants to take jewelry so he can find his love Cunnegonde and buy her.  So, even when there is no corruption, man creates some. And, ironically, the jewels that are nothing but pebbles to those living in Eldorado are the source of danger to Candide as he becomes a target for swindlers.  The satire here is that when things are going well for people, they will create their own misfortune.  When Candide is more content with his own blood being shed than with seeing his wealth disappear, Voltaire also satirizes man's greed and irrationalities.