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The Optimistic Philosophy in "Candide" by Voltaire Essay

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Why do bad things happen to good people? A question often asked by...well, by just about everyone. It is a frequently asked question that philosophers and religious figures have tried to answer for centuries yet no one can pinpoint the answer. Candide is no doubt Voltaire's response to the answer given by some of the philosophers of his time. The philosophy discussed throughout the novel gives meaning to the story itself and contributes to and carries on throughout the entire story.

In the Baron's castle somewhere in Germany the main characters reside for a short time. Pangloss, the philosopher and teacher of the Baron's children, has a radical philosophy on life and passes it to his students. This philosophy doesn't help them
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Providing a simple explanation for Pangloss' optimistic philosophy that we live in the "best of all possible worlds" this quote appears in the first chapter of the story and sets up one of the main themes throughout the novel. It's basically the logic behind Pangloss' philosophy, though it makes no sense. It seems quite obvious that spectacles were designed to fit the nose and not the other way around. These are the first of many very illogical arguments to support his philosophy. As the novel progresses this philosophy goes under brutal attacks by the misfortunes the characters come across again and again throughout their lives. It also sets up the never-ending debate between those characters with the optimistic view and those with the pessimistic view. Voltaire uses Pangloss' philosophy to demonstrate a point. Because he so strongly opposes this philosophy it's a recurring theme in the novel.

The optimistic view is also the main example of satire from Voltaire in the novel and this is probably the purpose for writing the novel. It could be interpreted as his response to philosophers of the time, G.W. von Leibniz in particular. Leibniz claimed that because God is perfect, all good and all-powerful, He wouldn't create a less than perfect world; therefore, we live in the best of all possible worlds. Leibniz also said that evil is
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