The Shallow, Fickle, and Arrogant Never Die

The Shallow, Fickle, and Arrogant Never Die

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All of the negative characteristics portrayed in Voltaire's "Candide" are timeless. The author of this short novel knew this and incorporated that message into the book by using the theme of Resurrection. The characters, Pangloss, Cunegonda, and the Baron all represent traits such as folly, snobbery, and narrow mindedness and are somehow resurrected throughout the story. We see that in our world, no matter how hard we try; we will never get rid of the evil characteristics of the people around us.

The first impression we get of Pangloss is that he is almost a sickeningly optimistic man. He believes that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds" and no matter what happens to him he feels that it is for the better. Even after Pangloss becomes extremely ill with syphilis, nearly hanged, almost dissected, and put in prison, he holds onto his theory. Since he believes so strongly in the idea that everything happens for a reason, he makes no effort to change anything, and even stops Candide from rescuing Jacques as he is drowning. Pangloss holds a certain arrogance and narrow mindedness that is carried through after his own "resurrection", proving that his character flaws will never die because they will always remain in the world.

Another character we encounter is the object of Candide's affections, Cunegonda. She suffers greatly after her kingdom is destroyed and lives in self-pity telling everyone her stories of being bought and sold as a mere sex object. She seems to care deeply for Candide, however she marries the Don, leaving Candide to flee and fend for himself. She has little regard for the man who loves her has an air headed quality about her. At the end of the story she has grown terribly ugly and accepts Candide's marriage proposal to the disgust of her brother. Her physical transformation seems to do nothing to change her character, thus further proving that negative characteristics live on.

Cunegonda's brother, the baron, has a certain arrogance and shallowness about him. He respects Candide, however refuses to let him marry his sister because he is not of royal lineage. Even though he sees all that Candide has gone through for his love, Cunegonda, the baron sees only that his family's background is too good for Candide, who is not deserving of a noble hand in marriage.

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His traits of udder snobbery and narrow-mindedness live on throughout the entire story.

It is clear to see that Voltaire, through the telling of the story of Candide, is trying to tell us something about the universality and immortality of certain undesirable traits in society. Through the resurrections of Pangloss, Cunegonda, and her brother, the baron, we see how their characteristics live on as they overcome some circumstance that nearly caused their deaths. We see that as long as there are people in this world to possess them, there will always be negative character flaws like arrogance, folly, and narrow-mindedness.

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