Even in the beginning stages of novel, Voltaire does all he can to make it apparent that Pangloss and his optimism, and likewise, his absurdity, is spoon feed ideology for those too foolish to question the world. The most encapsulating moment for this, what is the entire theme conveyed in the book, occurs when at a dinner, Pangloss is prattling on about how "everything is for the best" even when whats happening is the worst and halfway through a sentence, "the Inquisitor [beckons to his attendant to help him to a glass of port wine" (27) basically waving away Pangloss as ridiculous. Take this instance and compare to most any other up to this point and you will have a nice summation of what Voltaire's trying to achieve. He makes Pangloss and his still naive follower, Candide, look like this over and over, like bumbling idiots with their idealism equaling to stupidity to the point where people just wave it away with an eye roll and more wine, not so much to just be comical, but to point out how incredibly insolent one must be to accept so blindly optimistic belief. Therefore, Voltaire is able to criticize leibnitzian theology in a sly and pompous way, under the guide of comedy, which also marks Candide as a satire.
Thank you for posting, Madelyn. Excellent thoughts. Sorry you have none to add to your discussion. I quite agree, Voltaire satirizes them...without making it obvious. His idiocy--is truly brilliance.
I think this is an excellent example of Voltaire's criticism of the "all things for the best." He makes it so nonsensical, like when James drowns and Pangloss tells Candide that the coast of Lisbon was created in order for him to drown there. Voltaire conveys that they are no more than "bumbling idiots," as you say, perfectly by making this symbol of judgement condemn them, but also showing how insignificant their words are.
I definitely agree with this, but I think it lasts throughout the entire novel. Almost to the very end, Candide trys to maintain optimism and that happiness is acheivable despite his new philosopher's opinion that it is not. As it is evident that Candide is not too bright, I think that really adds to Voltaire's satire of optimism.
I know that Voltaire mocks and rejects the "everything is best" doctrine, but I think that the Leibniz's idea is really cool. The idea that everything was created for a specific purpose is true to me. To me, everything does have purpose (except gnats). Maybe he is just very pragmatic, but I disagree with his rejection of that doctrine.
I can't decide if I agree with you or not on this one. Simply because, I can find many reasons to argue that there is purpose to everything, then again, I look at it and see that as shattering any idea of not knowing some things because there's nothing to know...if that makes any sense at all.. Candide has a rare and different way of thinking, therefore causing him to not see things the way he's been taught, but simply as the way he perceives them. (please comment if that makes absolutely no sense)
Voltaire has been notorious so far for not only criticizing the world that he lives in, as in simply some specific disagreements he has about things that occur and affect his life, but a vast majority of the things the mind can ponder. Religion, politics, sexuality, war, disease, philosophy, nobility, natural disasters. And he does so very specifically, singling out specific people, places and things, such as the Russian army, the Inquisition, the slave trade, the Protestants, philosophers. He is obviously very knowledgeable about many subjects and areas, along with the events that occur there. This is shown through Candide's own travels and in those of his other companions such as the old woman and Cunegonde, from Europe to Asia to Africa. At times it seems that his greatest belief is that of mistrust and scorn for all things, since he has made a mockery of most things that humans usually cling to.
I like that you pointed out Voltaire being so knowledgeable about a lot of different subject areas. Anyone who reads this can attest to that, and in a way it reminds me of the judge who could not be satisfied with anything.
Through Candide, Voltaire has succeeded in completely shattering all ideas of stability in the human mind. While he uses a sarcastically convincing tone throughout the novel, Voltaire finds corruption in all aspects of the world and expresses it through continuous irony and satirical references to those of whom he makes a parody of. He uses "the two kings [of whom] were causing "Te Deum"" (page 17) to refer to the custom of warring nations to invoke the blessing of the Almighty and to ask Him for victory. This, being Voltaire's way of mocking the idea of God's participation of world affairs through his way of life as a deist.
The funniest part in the whole novel was the fact that Candide was a carbon copy of Forrest Gump! He was an idiot, but was able to pick up on many things and learn them quickly. he always tried to do the right thing, even if it would have been better for him to just take the easy way out, like when he was in El Dorado.
That's a really good way to describe it. He went trough life not trying to do anything but find love, and was able to accomplish many great things without trying to and after he achieved them, didn't care.
I thought it was very interesting how after Candide found out any news or discovered something, he would always faint. In a way breaking the stereotype that men are always stron and can endure anything. And Pangloss never died, in the same way that philosophies never die. Also after Candide searched so long for C (his love), he discovered that old age and labor has lesseened her outer appearances, thus defeating his original motives for searching for love. Proving that love is not soley based on the heart.
HulseyTCHS 12th AP Lit