Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Candide's change in attitude

One of the most interesting things that I observed over the course of the novel is the way that Candide's attitude, especially with regards to Pangloss and his philosophy on life, change over the course of the novel. At the novel's beginning, Candide is skeptical of Pangloss's philosophy. Although he admires Pangloss greatly, he can't help but wonder how all the horrible events that happen could somehow all be for the greater good. However, as the novel progresses, Candide more or less adopts the philosophy of Pangloss and assures himself that everything will work out in the end. However, at the book's end, he realizes that all does not work out for the best necessarily. He is extremely dismayed with Cunegonde's sudden ugliness and the loss of his immense fortune. As Pangloss begins to philosophize in the last two pages, Candide appears to reach the realization that life is much too complex and inconsistent to develop a constant theory on it, as Pangloss has attempted to do. In response to Pangloss's lengthy philosophic speeches, Candide merely responds, "we must cultivate our garden." In stark contrast to his optimistic attitude during the novel, Candide has now realized that it is silly to waste time philosophizing about life or a higher order, because all that you can really control is your own simple, Earthly duties such as cultivating the garden.

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