Romanticism and Neoclassicism in Literature

Between the years of 1660 and 1760 we were introduced to the Age of Reason, or as some would call it the Age of Neo-classicism. During this period we were familiarized to writers such as Voltaire. His most famous piece of writing, “Candide” shows satire criticism like horation, which is a light and dry type of mockery and juvenalian, which tends to be more hard and rough. This style of writing was popular until the Age of Romanticism. The Age of Romanticism took place the beginning of 1760 till the 1850’s and introduced us to Goethe, whose most popular piece of writing “Sorrows of Young Werther” showed a much different style than before. Voltaire’s writing style shows all the characteristics that defined the Age of Neo-classicism.

“Candide” illustrates the very optimistic side of man, and the idea of common sense and reasoning. Early on the characters show optimism. Pangloss is the first to convince Candide that everything happens for a reason by saying, “It is clear, said he, that things cannot be otherwise than they are, for since everything is made to serve an end, everything necessarily serves the best end.” (Chp1) Pangloss then goes on to describe that noses and legs were made for specific obstacles or else we would not have them. Candide is quick to agree and continues to have the belief that no matter the obstacle the end will be great till he meets the pessimistic character, Martin. Through every journey Candide comes up with a reason as to why they’re put through hardships, but it isn’t till their ship is wrecked and all among it is killed that Candide starts to believe Martin.

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“The enormous riches which this rascal had stolen were sunk beside him in the sea, and nothing was saved but a single sheep. -You see, said Candide to Martin, crime is punished sometimes; this scoundrel of a Dutch merchant has met the fate he deserved. -Yes, said Martin; but did the passengers aboard his ship have to perish too…