Candide Analysis

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Sam Mercurio Candide Essay Candide is the story of a young man’s journey throughout the world and all of its joys and sorrows. He is significantly influenced by all of the people and places he meets during his travels, but is initially faithful to the philosophy of his tutor Dr. Pangloss. Pangloss’s theory tells us that we live in the “best of all possible worlds” and therefore all this happens, is for the best. Candide’s encounters with characters like the Old Woman and Martin and witnessing of events like the war with the Bulgars and the earthquake at Lisbon lead him to change his thoughts on his mentor’s idea, eventually leading to his statement “but we must cultivate our garden” (Voltaire 130), which indicates that he feels the need for one to change what they believe is not how it should be, rather than lead a life of blind optimism. The foremost target of satire in Candide is the philosophy of Candide’s first tutor, Dr. Pangloss. Pangloss seems to be a well-learned man whom a highly impressionable character like Candide would easily follow and listen to. According to Pangloss’ theory, no matter how terrible or dramatic an event could seem to be, it was all apart of a great plan in which everything would turn out for the best. Candide’s belief that where he lived and how was the best it could have been at the start of the tale indicate that his trust in Pangloss’ doctrine could be seen as justified, as would his respect for his teacher. Candide proclaims his appreciation of his tutor by calling him; “The greatest Philosopher of the whole province, and consequently, of the whole world” (Voltaire 12). The entire rest of the story can be seen as a giant contradiction against what Pangloss and Candide believe. After hearing the philosophy of “the best of all possible worlds” one thinks that it would take a lot of tragedy to change someone’s opinion on the

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