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Pellegrino 1 Liana Pellegrino M. Padaguan Seminar 122 10 May 2010 Candide: Voltaire’s Philosophies In Voltaire‟s Candide, the main character Candide was sheltered throughout most of his life and believes the philosophies of his teacher Pangloss and that all he speaks is true even once he ventures away from his previous life. However, at the end of the novel, lie two conflicting philosophies that are presented by both Candide and Pangloss. One philosophy, stated by Pangloss, reads that “…all events are interconnected in this best of possible worlds” (pg. 113), which portrays an outside force that drives man‟s fate as well as having control over them. The other, spoken as a response by Candide to Pangloss‟ says, “…we must cultivate our own garden” (pg. 113), which expresses the complete opposite philosophy that man has control over his life through the dominance he portrays. Although there are differences between the two philosophies themselves, the differences can be attributed more to the differences two characters themselves. Previous to Candide‟s rejection of Pangloss‟ teachings, he had agreed mostly with his philosophies as evident in this passage when he states, “There is no effect without a cause…All things are necessarily connected and arranged for the best” (pg.21). This statement agrees with Pangloss‟ teachings throughout the novel as well as his main philosophy presented at the end of the book that all events are connected in the best possible worlds. Each share the idea of connected events all arranged for the better, and suggests that all individuals should have hope in the world they reside in. Other individuals Candide has encountered in this novel have supported Pangloss‟ teachings as well making it easier for Candide to continue to agree with this Pellegrino 2 philosophy. For example, when he came across the venerable sage he stated, “…We have nothing to ask of God: He‟s given us everything we need. We constantly thank him” (pg. 63). Here, the sage is implying that man need to do no work and that the force that decides our fate can compare to God – a philosophy that completely agrees with both Pangloss‟ and Candide‟s beliefs. However, Candide learned through all his events he experienced in the novel that Pangloss‟ teachings weren‟t true, especially when Candide and Martin began reasoning with each other as they approached the coast of France. On page 75, Candide asks Martin what reason was the earth formed, which he replies with “To drive us mad...” Here, Martin is implying that the world isn‟t the „best of all possible worlds‟ as Pangloss previously describes, and that it could be the exact opposite. Candide than responds with what I believe is an epiphany for himself and a huge turning point in the novel when Candide asks about the nature of men, and if they truly do have flaws (pg. 76). Martin then replies with an example of a hawk when he states, “…if hawks have always had the same character, what makes you think men may have changed theirs?” (pg. 76) and Candide realizes why men have this nature: “There‟s a big difference, because free will…” (pg. 76) This idea that Candide describes as free will directly relates to his quote he made at the end of the book where „men have to cultivate their own gardens‟ because in order for men to want to achieve or do something in life, they must exercise their free will which Candide is emphasizing here. Another experience that assisted the development of Candide‟s own beliefs was when he came across the naked women who were running through a meadow while two monkeys were following them, biting their buttocks. Candide felt pity for the two women and killed the monkeys; however, the two monkeys were the girls lovers (54). He becomes so shocked by this notion and states, “…I do not remember hearing Dr. Pangloss say that similar Pellegrino 3 incidents had happened in the past, that such mixtures had produced Aegipans, fauns and satrys, and that several great men of antiquity had seen them; but I regarded all that as fable” (pg. 56). Cacambo offers reason to Candide‟s words by saying, “…you can see how people behave when they‟ve been given a different upbringing…” (pg. 56) Through Cacambo‟s words, Candide balanced the negative of Martin‟s words, evident in his previous quote, and the positive of Cacambo‟s quote to assist in the disappearing of Candide‟s naivety. This characteristic is disappearing because of Candide‟s experiences and their philosophies as well as the people he has come across, while Pangloss‟ beliefs lack experiences which reveal the obvious difference in their both characters. Despite the differences in both the two characters as well as in their philosophies, both compare to Machiavelli‟s treatise The Prince in their idea of fortune and fate as well as in men‟s control over the situation. On page 28, Machiavelli discusses how a leader should act when dealing with a force like fortune when he states: “…the man who thus becomes a prince of such great genius as to be able to take immediate steps for maintaining what fortune has thrown into his lap, and lay afterwards those foundations which others make before becoming princes.” In both statements, he is emphasizing that a leader must be able to adapt to every situation presented to the leader or these leaders may not be successful at their duties as a leader. This idea compares to Candide‟s philosophy that „men must cultivate their own gardens‟ because although Machiavelli does mention fortune in his explanation, he does emphasize that a leader should take his own action to adapt to that fortune rather than waiting for fortune to do good for him. Another statement by Machiavelli supports a leader being able to adapt when he uses the metaphor of the wind and says, “…he must have a mind disposed to adapt itself according to the wind, and as the variations of fortune dictate, and, as I said before, not deviate from what is Pellegrino 4 good, if possible, be able to do evil if constrained” (Machiavelli 73). Machiavelli also addressed Candide‟s philosophy of free will when he states on page 71 that, “…men love at their own free will, but fear at the will of the prince, and that a wise prince must rely on what is in his power and not on what is in the power of others, and he must only contrive to avoid incurring hatred…” Here, he expresses that men have the freewill to grow fond of a leader as well as to hate their leader as well which raises fear. Even though Candide just mentioned free will of men in general and not in a specific situation like Machiavelli did, both raise the fact that included in the human nature of men is free will in every situation they can come across. As I have shown above, both philosophies differ in a man‟s ability to control his life as well as his situation, however, I believe that the differences are greater in regards to themselves as their own characters and how they came to their final philosophies at the end of the novel. For example, Pangloss‟ teachings don‟t rely on any experiences from his past or realistic evidence that the world is „the best possible world‟ and that all events are connected can be explained by his character because in the novel he didn‟t experience situations and people like Candide did throughout the novel. Candide came across people who had different point of view than he did and who created their own philosophies rather than relying on believing that another teacher preaches, i.e. Pangloss. With Pangloss expressing that there is a force that does control your faith in life, Machiavelli also agrees with him when he acknowledges the role of fortune in his treatise. However, he also addresses Candide‟s philosophy as well when he talks about man‟s ability to adapt to that fortune that can be thrown onto a leaders lap, and how one would handle any situation given to him.
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