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Candide Characters Essay

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In Candide, the character called Pangloss is believed to be a parody of philosophers who spent their time idly wondering about the world or debating points that have no real significance to life situations.  For instance, Pangloss keeps on saying that the world is good despite all of the misfortunes that have befallen him.

Many experts believe that Voltaire was also making fun at G.W. von Leibniz, a seventeenth-century philosopher who was part of a greater movement called theodicy.  This school of thought explains that evil exists in the world because they serve particular purposes.

  That even if the world is perfect because it was created by a perfect God, it is necessary to allow evil to happen.  It’s clear that Voltaire does not believe, like how philosophers did, that there is an inherent goodness in everything and that everything happens for a reason, even the bad ones.

Setting: The nobility of France

In this play, the setting could be defined as the society, which is present at that time.

  In other words, some members of the nobility of France were part of Candide’s life, like Cunegonde and her brother.  One example wherein Voltaire poked fun at this class is when he related that the baron’s sister didn’t marry Candide’s father because he only had “seventy-one noble lineages.”

Action: Jacques Death

Jacques, a good man who helped Candide and Pangloss, fell on a turbulent sea as he was rescuing a sailor.  The sailor, instead of helping Jacques to get back to the ship ignored the poor man, which resulted to his death.  In this example, it would seem that Voltaire is parodying the Christian preaching of good overcoming evil.  Here, Jacques did a good deed and was a good man but he died because of it.  To add to the mockery, Pangloss even said that the sea outside Lisbon was specifically created so that Jacques could drown in it.

Works Cited

Arouet, Francois-Marie.  “Candide by Voltaire.” Courier Dover Publications, 1991.

Ward, Selena, and Jaffee, Valerie.  “Candide.”  Sparknotes Home Page.  21 July 2008

<http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/candide/index.html>

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