Analysis of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Voltaire’s Candide
Both Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Voltaire’s Candide illustrates the collapse of a philosophy. This philosophy revolves around the inability of human beings to enclose their lives in accordance to a confined and limited doctrine which is superficially persuasive. The nature of doctrine is not contentious because the important aspect is that it underlines the idiosyncrasies of human nature and thought (Wilkie & Hurt, 2000). In Voltaire’s Candide, the doctrine is deflated as it claims that all human beings live best in all possible worlds.
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the philosophy and thoughts are creatively expressed as she seeks to criticize the religious descriptions of restrictions of humanity and the scientific conviction that all human needs are logical. This paper seeks to analyze and compare Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Voltaire’s Candide in the lights of broad and diverse academic resources. Comparison between Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Voltaire’s Candide Enlightenment and Romantic Movement are considered to be the two historical movements which concentrated on diverse relationships between man and world.
Enlightenment movement is eighteenth century movement which gave emphasis to logic and using it to understand each and every aspect of world and humanity. Romantic Movement was the response to the rationalism characteristic of the Enlightenment (Wilkie & Hurt, 2000). It accepted the unidentified mysteries of the nature word and did not seek out to interfere with nature. Candide is a piece of literature which is synonymous with Enlightenment rationalism as it criticizes philosophical sanguinity and hopefulness. Frankenstein symbolizes the ideals introduced by Romantic writers.
Although the two texts in several ways epitomize the rational and cultural movements, the description and representation of each of the main characters is really indicative of impulses which are opposite to the existing viewpoints of their respective movements. Voltaire represents Candide as an individual who is not familiar with the world. He only learns those things which are taught to him. Dr Pangloss introduces him to the concept of Leibnizian which is based on philosophical optimism which rejects the experience of the world and concentrates on the principle that all human beings live in best possible world.
In the era of logical reasoning and empiricism, a character like Candide refused to use his rationality and blindly trusted whatever his teacher told him (Wilkie & Hurt, 2000). He does not have the investigative and rational characteristic of the Enlightenment Movement. In contrast, Victor Frankenstein embraces scientific ideals which are not compatible with the Romantic Movement. He refuses to embrace the romantic ideals and becomes actively engaged to interfere with the mystery of life. In Candide, Candide had the perception that he would only get success when he gets the love of his life.
Although he had successfully got the woman of his dreams, in the end, he realized that he no longer desired her. His success had become meaningless. In Frankenstein, Victor was successful in creating deformed human life which is hated by other men and ultimately it destroys his life (Wilkie & Hurt, 2000). Although Candide no longer desires Cunegode, he perseveres and sticks to his declared goals as he believes that he can only be successful if he completes what he wanted to do in the first place.
On the contrary, Victor Frankenstein did not stick to his accomplished goals as he realized that bringing the human corpse to life was the biggest mistake he had ever committed. Voltaire’s Candide also depicts the social stratification of society. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein illustrates key ideas such as nurturing, love, creation, discrimination and prejudice which are based on appearances.
Conclusion Both Mary Shelly and Voltaire have depicted characters which are based on the movements of their time. Although Candide and Victor Frankenstein have lots of similarities, they are different in many aspects. Candide is a cheerful, optimistic individual who is not familiar with the world. Victor Frankenstein is an individual who lacks romantic ideals. Candide was successful in achieving his goals whereas Victor failed after earning his success. Although Candid no longer desired Cunegode, he kept his promise as he believed that can only be successful if he completes what he wanted to do in the first place. In contrast, Victor failed to support the monster he had created and in the end his success completely destroyed him and his loved ones.