The Influences of Candide’s Development
The story Candide or Optimism, written in 1759 by Francois Marie Arouet De Voltaire, is about a young man who experiences many misfortunes and who is exceptionally naïve. His development throughout his journey in life is contributed and influenced by the people he comes in contact with. In the story, Candide has the opportunity to experience many different views on philosophical optimism by meeting different people who have all suffered from different experiences and misfortunes. Some of these people, such as Pangloss, Cacambo, and Martin are individuals who had a major impact on Candide’s development and perspective of life.
Candide is a good-hearted but an extremely naïve young man. His mentor Pangloss teaches him that their world is “the best of all possible worlds.”(Candide, 521) Candide travels the world and comes in contact with a variety of misfortunes. He idealizes Pangloss and his teachings, and continuously tries to apply these teachings to his life. As he is applying these teachings, he suffers from a series of misfortunes. His faith in Pangloss’ optimism is repeatedly tested. Due to Candide believing in Pangloss’ sayings, he does not have an opinion on many things. Candide is definitely “extremely ignorant of the ways of the world,” (523). The fact Candide can not make decisions for himself, causes his actions and opinions to mainly be determined and influenced by his surrounding factors. He is a less realistic character due to his innocence, simply because he accepts as true everything his tutor Pangloss tells him. Candide’s vulnerability unfortunately leads him to many misfortunes, which painfully teaches him about reality.
The character Pangloss is Candide’s philosophical tutor. Pangloss’ optimistic philosophy contrasted greatly with the events that were occurring in Candide’s life. Often throughout the story, many disastrous things happened to Candide, but he continued to believe Pangloss. Although...
Cited: Arouet, Francois Marie. Candide. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Vol. D. Eds.
Sarah Lawall, et al. 2nd Edition. New York: Norton 2002. 520-580
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