Candide and Pangloss’s other pupils are soon confronted by the atrocities of the world – death, destruction, rape, and deception – and yet seem to largely still cling fondly to the memory and philosophy of their naively optimistic teacher.It is only after losing everything and hearing the tales of the others that Candide begins to see the folly in this philosophy.
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There are few chapters in Voltaire’s classic satire Candide that are wholly comedic; in truth, it seems there are fewer still that do not throw light on the tragic degradation, destruction, and immorality of a humanity fed on others misery.
An optimist, the character of Candide should contrast directly the pessimism and unhappiness of the world around him.“This ridiculous weakness is perhaps the most disastrous of our inclinations; for is their anything sillier than to desire to bear continually a burden one always wishes to throw on the ground” (538). While it is supportive, in her expression of it here, of Candide’s own optimism it still belies a realism that there is little in her tragedy that can or has been justified by man or God. The author obviously seeks to expose all of the human race”s self-deceptions and weaknesses, but he does so with great humor.Voltaire gives delight with his humor while planting the deeper message about the fallibility and corruption of humanity.At the beginning of his travels, Candide still believes naively in the philosophy of his old teacher, Pangloss.This philosophy believes that, “since everything is made for an end, everything is necessarily for the best end” (Voltaire 521).Through the humor laced encounters and near and absolute tragedy, Voltaire illustrates the resilience of humanity through such characters as the old woman who cares for Candide after he has been flogged by the Inquisition.The old woman has been through combinations of terror degradation that should have reduced her humanity but instead have created. Voltaire’s Candide: Analysis of Tragedy and Humour [Internet]. [Accessed 6 September 2019]; Available from: https:// Candide is captured into the service of the Bulgarians, finds that his love, Mademoiselle Cunegonde’s family has been torn apart, she herself raped and almost killed, sold from one man to another until she can maintain her fortunes as a mistress to powerful men.Voltaire’s Candide experiences a reality that is chaotic in its duality, with not one faction of his life seeming safe or unalterable.