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Candide, The Idea Of Optimism

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Comedy of ideas, a form a satire and also known as a form of high comedy, is a when two ideas of thoughts are put directly against each other. Typically it involves characters arguing about ideas that involve politics, social classes, and society as a whole. Characters use wit, mockery, and clever language as a way to mimic and mock their challenger. In the case of Candide, the idea of optimism (Pangloss’ views) and pessimism (Martin) are pinned against each other. Optimism is an attitude in which one remains hopeful and positive despite the negative circumstances. Pangloss’ view of optimism involves his belief that everything happens for a reason. Pangloss is stuck in this particular state of mind through out the novel. He firmly believes that the death, mishaps and misfortunes of others are the way the world is and God has a plan. Candide also starts out in this state of mind due to the fact that Pangloss mentored him and shaped his way of thinking. However, unlike Pangloss, Candide progresses in his way of thought. In this novel, Pangloss represents Voltaire’s attack on philosophical optimism and the non- progressive social consequences involved with optimism.

Voltaire depicts three lifestyles in Candide. Candide starts out by living in a “Paradise”, a representation of the Garden of Eden. Then there is a “Utopia” which is his time living in El Dorado, a place where everyone is equal and competition is nonexistent. This is essentially the most perfect
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