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Conner Beihl

Mrs. Balka

IB HL English 11

October 19, 2018

Prompt #3 Candide Essay

In the book, ​Candide,​ by Voltaire the main character, Candide, is created to be the

citizens of Europe, and gets put through events and experiences to question his beliefs and

morals in time during the mid 1700’s. One most prominent aspect of belief he questions over all

else is the philosophy, throughout the book Candide is put with different people that represent

different philosophies. The two most important characters to Candide’s philosophy are Pangloss

and Martin Pangloss representing optimism and Martin representing pessimism. Thus Candide

makes bias towards one over the other and Candide’s favor over the belief of optimism is

exemplified by the satirical techniques that Voltaire provides.

In the beginning, Candide brought up and taught by his tutor, Pangloss, who teaches him,

but always has the philosophy of optimism intertwined in all of the teachings. Throughout the all

the time of Candide being with Pangloss in the beginning of the book, Candide always looked to

Pangloss in awe and amazement, and never questioned Pangloss’s philosophy, that whenever he

would speak to Pangloss Candide, “could listen to [Pangloss] for ever,”(Voltaire 31) and

unrelentlessly take in all the optimism that Pangloss was. As Candide was the citizens and people

of Europe this represent how they were, always in great optimism and belief with blindness and
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glee, believing everything for the best as the great minds of the time said they were. The people

favored optimism over all other philosophies just as Candide had, and with the naive and blind

characteristics as Candide puts on display, Voltaire satirizes the people’s blindness as they are

unable to see the world in any other way. However as the perfect world comes to a close as

Candide goes on to harsh and unceasing trials that in time begin to make him question his belief.

In continuation, of the subject of Candide’s challenges, deeper into the book Candide

comes across another man by the name Martin who represents the opposite philosophy to that of

Pangloss, pessimism. Martin had been newly introduced into Candide’s life and as Candide

discovers Martin is pessimist, which now new to Candide, he states that anyone sees things the

way Martin does, “you must be possessed by the devil,” (Voltaire 92) and such a philosophy

shall not and cannot exist. This displays the people discovering pessimism and being so

disgusted from it, not because that it is an opposing philosophy but because to the people seeing

things in a more rational and open eye way was too radical and extreme to them. Voltaire

satirizes the people’s ignorance of other philosophies as shows the people giving such an abrupt

and over the top reaction to the discovery of the pessimism philosophy. Now after experiencing

both sides of the spectrum it is clear that candide (the people) would rather be surrounded by

optimism but be blind to everything else.

Lastly, Candide goes on to live life in a place where all the philosophies can be

with him in peace, at his farm, Pangloss and Martin both reside not objecting each other

but being there in peacefully harmony. However, the problem comes up of the marriage

between Candide and Cunegonde where her brother doesn’t allow the marriage to happen

so Pangloss, Martin, and Cacambo discuss and way to fix the problem, Martin suggestion
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was, “throwing the Baron into the sea”(Voltaire 139) which was completely absurd and

extreme. Voltaire purposely makes Martin’s suggestion to be extreme as the people’s

views of pessimism continue to see Marin as an extreme person. That pessimism is too

horrible to provide good thought. Yet, Pangloss’s suggestion was to create, “a beautiful

memorandum in which he proved that the Baron had no rights over his sister,”(Voltaire

139) with suggestion being much more down to Earth and rationale. That the people

continued to value optimism as a more rational thought than pessimism. Voltaire satirizes

the people’s bias over the philosophies through their thought of one being radical and the

other being rational. In the end the people were still ignorant and still favored optimism.

In conclusion, the people represented by Candide, in Voltaire book, ​Candide​,

have taken a stance in philosophies and see optimism as a far more beneficial philosophy

than pessimism. The people were ignorant just as Candide was and can’t see past the

objecting philosophies which creates their bias shown by the satirizing techniques of

Voltaire.