Candide Enlightenment Analysis

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Voltaire’s Candide: Essay Assignment

Voltaire’s Candide represents the ideas of the Enlightenment in many ways. It embodies the main ideas of the Enlightenment; progress, optimism, and reason in more than one instance. Pangloss and Candide’s views embody optimism and Martin, reason. Candide by Voltaire, is an excellent representation of Enlightenment ideas.
Voltaire’s character Pangloss is the epitome of optimism in the book Candide. Throughout the story, even in extremely harsh times, Pangloss still views the situation from a glass half full perspective. An example of his optimism can be seen when he doesn’t respond to Cunegonde’s death with grief, but instead implies that bad things that happen will be directly related to the good that
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The character to do so in the story Candide is the philosopher, Martin. However, although he has a pessimistic personality, it gives also provides him with the gift of reason. His sense of reason shows when Candide says "Surely you must be possessed by the devil," and Martin replies "He is so deeply concerned in the affairs of this world," answered Martin, "that he may very well be in me, as well as in everybody else; but I own to you that when I cast an eye on this globe, or rather on this little ball, I cannot help thinking that God has abandoned it to some malignant being…” (Voltaire, 100) Martin not taking note of Candide’s sense of humor, replies with a serious speech, he ponders the whole meaning of what he says and gives them a wholehearted answer. Being possessed by the devil is simply not possible, Martin knows this for himself and shows it by responding to Candide with a logical approach. Another example of Martin’s pessimistic yet realistic ideas can be seen when Candide asks him “But for what end, then, has this world been formed?” Martin replies, “To plague us to death” With this answer, he manages to completely omit and positivity that might have been able to be included. Within this short response, it is also possible tell that he has close to nothing to live for in life, if he did have something to look forward to in life, Martin
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