Thursday, December 3, 2015

Candide's Misfortunes

I will not deny that almost everything goes wrong for Candide and that he has several unfortunate experiences. For example, in an effort to protect the two naked girls from the monkeys, he actually kills their lovers. Candide had good intentions--I don't think he should be blamed for not knowing the status of their relationship. But I can't feel pity for him when bad things happen to him as a result of him just being an idiot. Namely, when Candide "spoke at length of Cunegonde" to the abbe, the abbe asks if Candide has received charming letters from her. As Candide tells the abbe that she has not sent any letters, I don't understand how he is not suspicious of the letter that comes from Cunegonde the next day... Because up to this point they have never exchanged any correspondence... This made me angry. How does he not realize that the timing is almost too perfect? Does Cunegonde even know where Candide is?! How could he possibly think this letter is actually from her! I did not feel bad for Candide when he was set up. He kinda deserved it for being so stupid. He's also carrying around millions, so I think he should be more aware that greedy people will try to woo him and take his money.

5 comments:

Sri Korrapati said...

SO TRUE! ^^^ I agree. However, if you think about it, it's not completely Candide's fault. He was taught by that ratchet professor so he wasn't prepared to be in the real world. It is partly in his upbringing that he is this stupid.

madison kahn said...

Sri makes a good point... I think it really was due to his beliefs that all this has happened to him, and I really did feel bad for him in the beginning, but as you say, I did actually begin to not feel so bad for him as his story continued. As he lived in the real world, he should've begun to realize the ignorance of Pangloss's ways. (He does do so a tiny bit at times, but he never fully rejects the beliefs.) I don't pity him anymore becauseof the fact that one of his main motives for leaving Eldorado is the fact that he is guaranteed to be richer than all monarchs--this is totally selfish. The ending also made me pretty mad. All this time he's been chasing down Cunegonde. We said today in class that his main attatchment to Cunegonde stems from her looks, and this appears to be very true in the end. When he finally finds Cunegonde, she has grown old and ugly. He does not have any desire to marry had anymore, but does so anyway. Candide ultimately has no real purpose in his life, and the second something goes wrong he dismisses it, reassuring himself of the absurdity that "everything is for the best."

Jack Zheng said...

I agree that by the end of the story Candide should have grown up already. Candide has had the Old Woman, Cacambo, and Martin give him practical advice at this point, but he learns nothing from them and fails to reject the idea that everything is for the best. He naively trusts every stranger he encounters throughout the whole story, and does not dismiss Pangloss' pointless argument until the very end, when there is nothing left in life to chase after.

Madison Cummings said...

Candide blindly follows Pangloss' theories, which I agree made me annoyed while reading the book as well. Like Jack mentions, he has had multiple people give him new perspectives on the world ( the Old Woman, Cacambo, and Martin) and he continues to say that everything is for the best. While I think that living life optimistically is great, I don't necessarily think you should take it as far as Candide does. Like we discussed in class, I think at some points you must look at what is going on around you, realize that it is bad, and at least make an attempt to fix things. I think that at some points Candide disregards Pangloss' beliefs and tries to do so. For example, when he kills the monkeys, he thought he was helping and if Pangloss would have been there he would have not shot them. But it is frustrating to the reader, because shortly after he has these moments of clarity, he goes back to saying everything is for the best

madison kahn said...

I second the fact that he does try to act on his feelings sometimes, @madison. I think the fact that the monkeys turn out to be the girls' lovers is significant because it shows how good intentions can have unintentional bad consequences. I think many times people don't act in situations becauss they are afraid of the outcome of making things worse. If things do become worse, people are discouraged and once again resort to a state of inactiveness, as Candide does. Another thing we were talking about is the fact that Candide acts the way he does because of his upbringing. If you're sheltered throughout your childhood and told one thing over and over again, I would imagine that it would be pretty difficult to disregard those beliefs. I commend Candide for actually attempting to do so, and for ultimately deciding what he must do with the rest of his life by himself