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How Voltaire Utilizes Candide, Pangloss,And Martin To Satirize How Blind Optimism Hinders The Perception Of Reality

1464 words - 6 pages

Blind optimism has concealed the eyes of human beings from the defects of the world since the age of Enlightenment. Defying the archaic thinking of society, Voltaire searched for practical and useful knowledge to explain the world he lived in. Voltaire mocked philosophers, such as Leibniz ,who believed in the “best of all possible worlds” ,and presupposed that all things happen for a reason rather than convincing himself that good and bad are one and the same( 12). The term blind optimism refers to naievty, or having a tendency to expect the best of all possible outcomes and never accepting conclusions in a negative way. In the novel Candide, Voltaire strikes his major characters with atrocious events to challenge the unquestionable optimistic view of the world, showing how ludicrous blind optimism truly is. Voltaire exemplifies this notion by utilizing characterization of his characters Candide, Pangloss, and Martin to satirically demonstrate how blind optimism hinders the perception of reality
Candide is outlined to be excessively trustworthy in everything he is disclosed to, and thus, childlike. After Candide is kicked out of his castle, he is approached by two soldiers who ask him if he “has great affection for the King of Bulgarians”, and when Candide replies that he doesn't know of the King, the two soldiers invite Candid to “drink to [ the king’s] health”.As Candide joins them and drinks to a king he has never known “with all his heart”, he demonstrates lack of independence for himself. The soldiers then take Candide to join their army and he goes willfully, contented to be a involved in Bulgarian army. As Candide is exposed to many horrors such as war, abuse, and homelessness, he realizes life is not constantly jubilant ,and struggles to justify these events according to his original belief that “everything is necessarily concentrated and arranged for the best” (18). Furthermore,because Candide can never explain his misfortunes as “the best”, Voltaire reveals the fault in Candide’s blind optimism since it the one to blame for his sad state. This conviction of Candide is struck once again, after Lisbon is struck by an earthquake.As the sages of the country try to sacrifice humans to save themselves from the earthquake,Candide observes “terrified” and questions that “if this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?”( 29). In both Candide’s homelessness and the Lisbon earthquake, he begins to see the real world and the horror that it contains, but is unable to define the reasons for which these abhorrent events take place. Through Candide’s confusion of life’s rough side ,Voltaire illustrates his belief that blind optimism results in a world inexplicable to humanity.
If the term blind optimism could reincarnate itself into a human being, it would be in the form of the philosopher, Pangloss. Pangloss adhere’s by the motto: “all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best of all...

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