Candide Foil Analysis

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In order to highlight important traits in a primary character, authors sometimes include a secondary character who contrasts in important ways with the former. This secondary character is referred to as a foil. These characters are sometimes similar in many ways, thereby making their differences even more pronounced in comparison. The relationship between these characters can be used to bring important personality traits to life. One example of this is the relationship between the main character Candide in Voltaire's novella by the same name, and his friend and foil Martin. Candide and Martin are very close friends. They traveled across Europe together. During that time they had many adventures and unique experiences. For example, they visited Lord Pococurante together and ate with six deposed leaders. However, they frequently debated with each other on different subjects such as when Candide asked Martin about his beliefs on the truthfulness of the captain’s large book. Despite their close relationship, Candide and Martin are very different. Candide is a diehard optimist. Throughout his entire journey he maintains the belief that he will return to Cunegonde again even when he is on the other side of the world. Even when his mentor, Pangloss, and Cunegonde are seemingly dead he does not become despondent but continues to believe that this is the best of all possible worlds. Martin, conversely, is a pessimist. Even when he was living in the perfect city of El Dorado, he still managed to find fault with his environment. On their journey, Martin continued to tell Candide to give up his quest of returning to Cunegonde. Martin’s negative perspective serves to bring Candide’s positive outlook into clear view. Martin is a deep thinker who provides an intellectual argument for his beliefs. Candide seeks to hear Martin’s point of view on various topics, not out of a desire to debate, but rather to learn. For example, while on the boat, Candide simply...
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