Essay: Characters in Candide by Voltaire

1. Please explore the meanings behind the names of Candide and Pangloss to show how they fit their characters. Think of word associations with the name “Candide” and check out its etymology (word origins), which requires looking up those associations in the dictionary (hard copy or online). For Pangloss, break his name into two parts, “pan” and “gloss,” and see what they mean separately and could then say about his name. Note: Pangloss’s name has nothing to do with Pan, a minor Greek divinity.

The name Candide comes from the Latin word which means ‘white’. He is portrayed as simplistic, na??ve and innocent in nature. This name fits his character has a sense of purity. In essence he was easily influenced by others ideals. He was always being influenced by his tutor/mentor Dr. Pangloss philosophical teachings and held them as the truth throughout the story. He never seemed to be able to create his own thoughts or feelings about life. He ultimately relied on the inspiration of others and followed. He had a kind heart and goodwill throughout the story which made him the most likely character to be portrayed similarly to a ‘hero’.

The name Pangloss was created using Greek prefixes and suffixes. If you break the word down ‘pan’ means ‘all’ and ‘gloss’ means ‘tongue’. Together it means ‘all tongue’. He is portrayed as an optimistic and exaggerated philosopher who does not have a grip on reality. He seems to ignore any ideas or proofs that don’t align with his own philosophy. He always has an answer for everything. He expresses his delusional opinion to support his way of thinking. His ideal on ‘this word is the best world possible ‘gives him an excuse not to make an effort to change anything that seems wrong or evil since in his mind this is the way it was supposed to be. He does have the gift to gab as his name suggests. He thinks he knows a lot but just what he knows is only what is within his own philosophical beliefs. He is a jack of all trades, master of none.

2. The El Dorado episode is absolutely central to Voltaire’s design and purpose. First off, it happens right in the middle of the story, dividing it into two discrete parts, the one before and the one after El Dorado. Please suggest at least two other convincing functions of that episode. To help you, consider the ways the El Dorado part contributes to the plot and message of Voltaire’s satire.

Candide and Cacambo were mesmerized by the beauty of the Utopian society of El Dorado. Voltaire created this Utopia to contrast the harsh reality of life reality in the 18th century European society. Candide once pure and innocent gained a bit of greed while in Utopia. He felt if he brought back some riches he would be able to marry Cun??gonde. So they start out on their journey back into the harsh reality of the world to seek out Cun??gonde.

Candid was once content with his home and acceptance of Pangloss philosophy that he once held so dear to his heart as the truth. Now, seeing the riches, hospitality and luxuries (peace, religious freedom, collaborated society) of El Dorado he now saw the flaws in Pangloss philosophy that stated ‘this word is the best world possible ‘.

3. Voltaire’s Candide presents a very fatalistic view of human nature. Please provide at least five specific examples of human evil (and I do mean evil) from the plot of the story.

When I think of human evil I think of ‘pain and suffering’.

Greed is portrayed in the sailor who is stealing the goods in Lisbon while the people are dying all around.

Supersitution and cruelty is exhibited in the Catholic Inquisition. They held burnings of auto-de- f??-(considered an act of faith). They believed doing so would prevent earthquakes.

Candide gives Paquette and her brother some money and they are wasteful with the money he has given them and are left totally broke.
Pacquette has no other choice than to become a prostitute just to survive.
Fraud is portrayed when the eunuch tell the pricess that they will set her free but end up selling her as a slave.

Source: Essay UK - http://ntechno.pro/essays/english-literature/essay-characters-in-candide-by-voltaire/


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