Analysis of Voltaire’s philosophy in Candide Assignment

Analysis of Voltaire’s philosophy in Candide Assignment Words: 1118

In the beginning of the novel, we see Voltaire beliefs expressed through Candied, a young, naive man whose sole knowledge comes from that of Dry. Pompanos. Pompanos is a philosopher who believes that “everything Is for the best in this best of all possible worlds” (319). Without much experience living outside the Baron’s castle in Westphalia, Candied has no other choice but to believe his philosopher and his stories. The reader can immediately see that Voltaire is mocking other philosophers of this era because Pompanos’ Ideals reek with sarcasm. However. No matter how audacious Pompanos’ truths seem (I. . : “noses were made to support spectacles, hence, we have spectacles” [319]) Candied believed them until he had enough life experience to have reason to think otherwise. This supports Voltaire opinion that Johnson 2 knowledge Is not based on stones or philosophies, but rather on actions and experience. Voltaire exhibits his belief that life experiences help to gain knowledge through the old woman and her story. In chapters 11 and 12, the old woman explains to Candied and CUNY??Gonne the horrors that she has experienced in her life. Her story helps to heap Candid’s view of life. ND helps persuade him to change his way of thinking. She does not pity Candied or CUNY??Gonne for their misfortunes, nor does she try to find an explanation for their adversity, but Instead, claims that that Is just how life Is. She argues that of the sailors on their ship: “if you find a single one who… Has not often told himself that he Is the most miserable of me, then you may throw me overboard” (337). Her outlook on life was that people spend too much time feeling sorry for themselves, when they should be thankful that they probably have it better Han the man next to them.

After all the suffering that the old woman has gone through, she is still able to able to appreciate her life. Unlike Pompanos, whose philosophy on life was based on what he thought, the old woman’s philosophy on life was based on life experience and things that had actually happened to her. She was still an optimistic, however, because she believed that there Is always someone who has it worse than you do. 1 OFF Martin represents the negative side to Voltaire Johnson 3 philosophy, because his life experiences have driven him to believe that life has no season at all.

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He has had so many negative encounters along his road through life that whatever reasoning he once had have been proved false. However, Martin’s character still follows Voltaire philosophy because his outlook on life, although very negative, has been shaped by his actions and life experience. CUNY??Gonne and the love story between her and Candied also illustrate part of Voltaire philosophy, and it is through this portion of the novel that the author’s sarcasm is expressed. Usually, love stories either have a happy or a tragic ending, but in Candied, we find neither exists.

The once beautiful CUNY??Gonne has become mangled and decrepit because of the terrible things that happened to her throughout the story, and Candied “at heart… Had no real wish to marry CUNY??Gonne” (376), which makes the reader wonder why Voltaire would put these two characters through so much pain only to have them not want each other at the end. The conclusion of the story helps to further instill Voltaire point of view because if everything would have turned out “for the best”, then surely at least by the end of the novel Candied and CUNY??Gonne would have found happiness.

The author’s ending inputs his philosophy by illustrating that although experiences in life and love, (whether good or bad), change our perspective, they do not necessarily make us better people or make our lives happy. Johnson 4 All of the characters that Candied meets in the story help to alter his view of the world. By the end of the story, Candied has his own view on life, which is very different from any of that of the other characters. He no longer believes whatever anyone tells him, but instead has created his own outlook on life based on his own actions and experiences that have taken place throughout the novel.

And even though Pompanos still truly believes that “all events are linked together in the best of possible worlds” (Voltaire, 379), Candied has realized that he no longer has to believe everything his philosopher says, but instead Just goes on living his life, making up his mind as he goes along. It is this character, at the end of the story, that best represents Voltaire beliefs. This is obvious because of all of the sarcasm that Voltaire uses throughout the story.

He is trying to convey to the reader that whatever philosophies and reasons others may eve, one should disregard them and go on living their own life, letting their own experiences shape their beliefs as opposed to someone else’s. Candied is the model that Voltaire uses to contradict the other character’s viewpoints, and in turn to show the reader what Voltaire truly believes. As a society, still follow Voltaire philosophy of “reason plus action”. People in today’s world have to have life experience in order to gain credibility with peers or co- workers. It is not Johnson 5 enough to have reason without having evidence to back up a story.

This is where Pompanos’ philosophy is flawed, because although he had an interesting premise with valid arguments, once Candied, CUNY??Gonne, and other characters in the story tested these arguments, it was found that his reasoning was not useful in the everyday world. The character of Martin contradicts Pompanos, because he bases his entire outlook on life solely on the experiences that he has had, which causes him to be a pessimist. If Martin would have tried to analyze his experiences, he may have found that there were indeed some reasons to explain the dreadful things events that had occurred throughout his life.

Voltaire uses these two extremes to help the reader understand that a balance is needed between experience and reason. Voltaire conveys his message through subtle details as well as blatant sarcasm. This allows readers to identify with the characters and the story line, but more importantly, to understand the author’s viewpoint on life. Voltaire real premise in Candied was not Just to make fun of other philosophers at the time, but also to teach valuable lesson to his readers: Life experience is a necessary part in defining who you are and what you believe.

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Analysis of Voltaire's philosophy in Candide Assignment. (2018, Oct 06). Retrieved January 24, 2022, from