Voltaire was an important member of the Enlightenment movement in France, and of special significance was his eighteenth century work Candide. Using Candide for the purpose of illustration, this paper will examine what is meant by enlightened thought, and specifically .
focus on the intellectual traditions represented by Candide and Dr. Pangloss, and the beliefs .
and institutions criticized by Voltaire. .
The Enlightenment and enlightened thought is often associated with eighteenth .
century France, and how this way of thinking became a revolutionary force against the .
Church. Enlightened thought is often seen as a combination of empiricism and rationalism .
in which the basis of knowledge can be found in the formation of observations and pure .
reason. In Candide, Voltaire used the character of Candide to embody the enlightened .
perspective, as he is born into a feudal society and travels the world making observations and .
reasoning about what he sees. In fact even the name "Candide" suggests that he says what .
he thinks and hides nothing, despite what the noble teachings may be. "You could read his .
character in his face. He combined sound judgment with affected simplicity."  (Voltaire, .
Despite the noble claims that all is for the best, we find Candide exercising his .
enlightened perspective when he says "I must admit that regrettable things happen in this .
world of ours, moral and physical acts that one cannot approve of." (Voltaire, 48) Also .
Candide recognizes the true meaning of optimism after meeting a deformed slave who still .
had hope: "It is the passion for maintaining that all is right when all goes wrong with us." .
(Voltaire, 86) .
Candide spends much of the story in search of the Lady Cunegonde, who as the .
daughter of a Baron, can be seen as representing the nobility. Candide's search for .
Cunegonde is his search for happiness (or his search for noble wisdom) but when he finally .