Saturday, December 1, 2012


Candide, Martin, Pangloss, and other chacters spend the entirety of the narrative arguing about philosophy and never really getting anywhere.  Martin's pessimism is never shaken, Candide never seems to be certain of Pangloss's philosophy, and Pangloss, even though he realizes he is wrong, maintains his position simply out of stubborness.  Voltaire repeatedly mocks the philosophers of his time directly and indirectly, particularly Leibniz.  In the last chapter Martin says, "Let's work without speculation, it's the only way of rendering life bearable."  In this, Voltaire seems to be satirizing human nature and, by consequence, the Enlightenment.  The fact that the characters are stagnant and never truely change their opinions and that the reclussive Turk they meet in the last chapter seems to be the only content character in the entire story seems to imply that the idea that there is no limit on human progress or human understanding is intrinsically false.

1 comment:

Ian J said...

I'm going to completely honest but all the different philosophers, intellectuals, and what-have-yous have got me so confused I don't know who preaches what. But I have noticed a common pattern between all of them that you too Ben have picked up on. They do seem like they are against the Enlightenment movement and that they argue against rationality and reasonable thinking in many ways. They characters never seem to develop and accept or at least consider others characters' points of view, with the exception of Candide of course as he believes in Pangloss's theories and then later dabbles in another philosophy. I think that Voltaire might have been insulted or offended by the Enlightenment movement and this seems to be his rebuttal against it all! He is trying to poke fun at and satirize the other philosophers in the novela because he believes they are wrong in their thinking and beliefs, but wait, isn't he a philosopher too? Maybe he believes his philosophy is the one and only "true philosophy".