Friday, November 30, 2012

Martin and Candide are Opposites


Candide and Martin seem to have philosophies essentially different at the core. They argue throughout their time together over just about anything. On page 222 they disagree on basically every question that the other asks. A quote that just about sums up their ideas can be found on page 235 when Voltaire writes, “Candide, who had been trained never to judge for himself, was much astonished by what he had heard; and Martin found Pocourante’s way of thinking quite rational.” Here Voltaire shows how Candide is more or less of an optimistic simpleton, while Martin agrees with Pococurante’s pessimism. Candide borrows much of his logic from Pangloss, no matter how flawed it may seem. So what do you guys think? and who do you agree with?

4 comments:

Austin Falk said...

I would agree with this. Candide and Martin both definitely seem to be foils of each other in the novella. Even though they are opposites, it seems that Candide does take a lot of value in what Martin has to say. Perhaps Candide is contemplating himself which view point he thinks is more logical. The idealist perfect world view of Pangloss or this new pessimistic view point of Martin.

wkuehne said...

While Candide does appear to be a foil of Martin at times, he also agrees with much of what Martin has to say initially. I think that Martin is more a foil to Pangloss, and Pangloss just influenced Candide enough to make Candide appear to be the opposite to Martin's pessimism.

Grant Reggio said...

I think Candide and Martin argue over whether human beings are intrinsically evil as well. Martin presents his viewpoint with an analogy between humans and hawks: that just as hawks have always preyed upon lesser birds for survival, humans have always been evil and bent on their own destruction. In the context of birds, I actually have an expansion of this idea. Humans are nothing like hawks, but instead are vultures and bluejays, birds that scavenge and steal respectively for the convenience of their survival. Humans likewise scavenge and steal to "conveniently" survive. So in a sense, the hawk analogy is both a comparison and a contrast. Hawks have always eaten smaller birds, and humans have always been evil. The difference comes in that a human is also very different from the majestic hawk.

TSHAH said...

I think that Candide is a special case in regards to what philosophy he follows. Pangloss and Martin are respectively set on their views of either being extremely optimistic or being pessimistic about life. Voltaire is attempting to illustrate tow rings here: 1) Voltaire is trying to show how society tends to follow other people without becoming their own people as, 2) Voltaire is also trying to show that extremes are not the way to live life, as neither gets you anywhere. Being extremely pessimistic or optimistic causes you to be unhappy, and rather you should be like the people of Eldorado and have a perfect balance of everything. Eldorado is the way Voltaire believes life should be, but human nature prevents it from being possible.