Optimism In Candide

744 Words3 Pages
Candide, written by Voltaire, argues against the idea that optimism is a practical way of life. In Candide, the main character Candide sets out on a journey to find the love of his life, but on his journey, his philosophy of optimism causes great pains and sufferings. Candide, along with his master Pangloss, believes, “that there is no effect without a cause” (Voltaire 1). They also believe that no matter what, it is the best of all worlds. The role of optimism in Candide; keeps Candide alive, but Candide himself and the characters with different views of reality conflict with the philosophy of optimism. The philosophy of optimism is a main reason why Candide decides to not only continue in his journey, but to stay alive. Candide, after enduring…show more content…
The first and main way that optimism’s flaws are pointed out and contrasted with reality is through Candide and Pangloss themselves. The sole believers of this philosophy in the novel point out its own flaws. First, Candide states that optimism is, “it is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst” (Voltaire 54). No matter what occurs, Candide always believes that it is for the best. For example, if everyone were to die except for Candide, he would still believe that it is the best of all worlds. Every human knows that this is flawed because the best of all possible worlds would mean that everyone is still alive in that certain situation. Secondly, Pangloss, a stronger supporter of optimism, shows even more flaws than Candide. When Pangloss contracts syphilis he explains, “it was a thing unavoidable, a necessary ingredient in the best of worlds; for if Columbus had not caught in an island in America this disease…we should have had neither chocolate nor cochineal” (Voltaire 9). Pangloss believes that if he did not obtain syphilis, then chocolate and cochineal would have never reached Europe and then it would not be the best of worlds. Chocolate and cochineal could have still come to Europe without Pangloss contracting syphilis. It is ludicrous for Pangloss to think that he must have syphilis to have chocolate. The main way that Voltaire mocks optimism is by using Candide and
Open Document