Wealth and great materialistic possession brings happiness and success to most people?s lives. Although wealth does not always bring happiness, El Dorado was one society where all it?s inhabitants lived lives full of success and happiness. In Candide, wealth proved to guarantee a person a step forward in life and some sense of freedom. Sometimes when one lives in an environment consisting of total equality, one may prefer to leave and go to a different place where they would be considered superior and everyone else inferior to them.
The people of El Dorado were so wealthy that they abused the things that they possessed that others would cherish. The children proved this when they were playing at quoits covered with tattered garments of the richest brocade. It is obvious to see that they were so rich that the quoits did not have any significant meaning to them. We were able to see this when upon having to return back to school they left the quoits on the ground along with their other playthings. Candide was surprised to find out that an adult schoolmaster would do the exact same when given these quoits which consisted of gold and precious stones. Candide realized that these children must have been those of a king and he said, ? The king?s children in this country must have an excellent education, since they are taught to show such a contempt for gold and precious stones.? (49). Another way in which we saw that they were very wealthy was the fact that the common pebbles of their highways were large gold pieces, houses were built of silver and gold, the antechamber was incrusted with rubies and emeralds. I feel that this was not very appropriate. Just because they were wealthy does not mean that the money should be wasted in such a way as to build a highway of these expensive stones, when it could be substituted with a much less expensive material.
El Dorado was a place where everyone was extremely happy and satisfied with what they possessed. This place was seen as heaven on earth. It represented a cultural wealth. Everyone here was a priest and priests were considered to be pleasant happy beings. We clearly saw that Cacambo and Candide were very satisfied with their stay here when they said, ?Possibly this is that part of the globe where everything is right for there must certainly be some such place.? (50). They believed that there was such a place because they followed their great friends Pangloss? idea that everything is for the best. Prayer was not a part of anyone?s life in this society because they all felt that there was no need to pray since they had everything they needed. We saw that this was a belief of the Revered Sage when he said, ?We have nothing to ask of Him, He has given us all we want, and we give Him thanks incessantly.? (51). To me this way of thinking was very wrong. Prayer is a big part of my life and I feel that even if one feels that everything is perfect, prayer should not be eliminated from their lives. Stopping the praying may lead to great misfortune. As long as you have God in your life you will be protected and cared for.
Equality and happiness among every single person in a society may lead to one?s desire to escape to another society where they would differ. Here in El Dorado Cacambo and Candide had the chance to be rich and happy alongside everyone else in their society, but this was not what they wanted. In societies where everyone seems to be equal, one may at times feel the want to escape to a place where they would be in some sense different, special, and superior. If everyone were the same, their lives would not include any type of competition, and no one would have goals to reach to be better than anyone else. Candide and Cacambo knew that they would be happy be happy in El Dorado, but they preferred not to stay and feel this sense of total equality among everyone else. We saw that Candide did not want to stay and live in this type of society when he said, ?If we remain here we shall only be as others are; whereas, if we return to our own world with only a dozen of El Dorado sheep, loaded with the pebbles of this country, we shall be richer than all the kings in Europe.? (52). He felt this need to feel superior. They also believed that if they went back with all this wealth, they would easily recover Miss Cunegund, since money could get a person almost anything.
In Candide, although wealth almost always brought happiness, there were a few exceptions. One example was Miss Cunegund. Due to her beauty, she was able to live in many different places and with many different people. All these men that she resided with were very wealthy, and they were willing to provide her with almost anything that she wished for. This did not guarantee her happiness because she was living in the presence of total strangers instead of with the one?s she loved. Another example was the relationship of Pacquette and Friar Giroflee. The Friar was wealthy and happy because due to his wishes he had Pacquette as his partner. Unfortunately Pacquette being the one of less power had no choice but to abide by the Friar and continue to live unhappy. She also had no choice but to fake her happiness and fool everyone around. Candide was one of those fooled. When can see this when he said to her, ?you looked so gay and contented, when I met you, you sang and caressed the Theatin with so much fondness, that I absolutely thought you as happy as you say you are now miserable.? (67).
In my opinion Voltaire was trying to emphasize that there are two different kinds of people in this world, the wealthy and the not so wealthy. I do not feel that he was trying to say that all the time but instead that more than half of the time those who are wealthy live happier and more advanced lives than those less fortunate. In Candide, wealth can get a person anything or person they wanted. The less fortunate had to obey and abide by the rules of those more powerful to them. It was almost like they were slaves to their masters. The wealthy were able to buy their happiness, as the masters and residents of El Dorado did. This is not only proven in Candide. By looking at the real world and our everyday lives we can agree with this theory. It is not hard to see that the famous millionaires in this world live in great beautiful places full of luxuries, and those that are poor such as the homeless have to get by day by day with no or very little food and shelter.
In conclusion, wealth brings most people happiness and pride but only to a certain extent.