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Candide's Growth Essay

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In the story "Candide" Voltaire uses satire to criticize the philosophical views of the enlightenment period and illustrate his outlook of how an individual should view their own existence by Candide's character development throughout the story. Voltaire is able to do this by introducing Candide into two contrasting philosophical views of characters that play a large role in his life, Pangloss and Martin. At the beginning of Candide's quest he followed Pangloss's theory of the best of all possible worlds. Pangloss's ideas hinder Candide on his satire filled journey to find Cunegonde because he is overly optimistic. On his journey his outlook changes by the pessimistic influence of Martin. Which helps him develop into his own character at the end of the story.
The first theory that Candide is introduced to is the oracle of the house that he was raised in Dr. Pangloss. Voltaire writes that " Pangloss gave instruction in metaphysico-theologico-cosmoloonigology" this is a satire of the German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz (Lawall "Candide" 520) . Leibniz created the doctrine of optimism which claims "which holds that our world is the best of all those possible" (Strickland 18). Lloyd Strickland states "the most obvious objection to optimism, namely that this world contains far too much evil to be plausibly identified as the best. claimed, for instance, that Voltaire's aim in Candide was to refute, or confound Leibniz by 'bombarding him, so to speak, with the evil of the world" It is obvious to the reader that this is Voltaire's motive (Strickland 19). Voltaire continues to insult Leibniz view by writing "He proved admirably that there cannot possibly be an effect without a cause and that in this best of all possible worlds the Baron...


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...tudies 31.2 (2002): 199. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Feb. 2012
Lawall, Sarah. The Norton Anthology of World Literature "Candide". 2nd. New York: W. W.

Norton and Company, 2002. 522-580. Print.

Kasten, Madeleine, and Curtis Gruenler. "The Point Of The Plow: Conceptual Integration In The
Allegory Of Langland And Voltaire." Metaphor & Symbol 26.2 (2011): 143-151. Academic
Search Premier. Web. 3 Apr. 2012.
Putnam, LuElla. "Boredom, Insignificance, And Death In Voltaire's Candide, Charles Baudelaire's The
Flowers Of Evil, And Paulo Coelho's Veronika Decides To Die." Atenea 30.1-2 (2010): 67-
78. Academic Search Premier. Web. 3 Apr. 2012

Strickland, Lloyd. "False Optimism? Leibniz, Evil, And The Best Of All Possible Worlds." Forum
Philosophicum: International Journal For Philosophy 15.1 (2010): 17-35. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 3 Apr. 2012.


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