In a highly opinionated and humorous novel "Candide", Voltaire explores many important concepts such as power, wealth, love, philosophy, religion, education, and optimism. Although over 200 years old, Voltaire's thoughts on different topics can still be relevant for modern day analysis. By truly looking into the underlying themes of religion, society/class, and optimism within this interesting story, we can begin to compare and deconstruct today's society by Voltaire's views.
Being one of the most controversial themes of the book, religion is always highly scrutinized and questioned as people struggle to understand the true concept of it. Throughout the book, religious figures are often seen as self-righteous and filled with greed. Voltaire often depicts religion as corrupt and mocks it. The quote "Alas said the old woman, I have a shrewd suspicion of a reverend Grey Friar, who stayed last night in the same inn with us at Badajos. God preserve me from judging rashly, but he came into our room twice, and he set out upon his journey long before us," shows the hypocrisy he believes exist in religion. In this quote we the member of religious group steal money, which is completely different from how they are supposed to act. Voltaire wants us to see that religion really is not as sacred as it appears and maybe even more detrimental to humans. This completely relates to today because more and more people are starting to believe that religion isn't that important and very constraining. The rise of atheism has been increasing and there have been many accounts of corruption in a religious atmosphere. One example is Shawn Merriman, who was supposedly misusing his power and funds from a church. In Candide, Voltaire wants us to view religion as malicious and fraudulent. .
Another major theme throughout the book is the issue of society and class. Those in power are constantly taking advantage of the less fortunate and are only concerned with personal benefit.