Essay The Relationship Between Candide And Pangloss

1601 Words Nov 17th, 2015 7 Pages
As stated by the philosopher, Leibniz, “The world is the best of all possible worlds, and everything in it is a necessary evil.” Candide, a novel by Voltaire explores the philosophical dimensions of paternalistic optimism. Paternalistic optimism is the idea of a perfect predestined world created by God’s intentions. These ideals found strong acceptance among the Catholic Church, monarchs and other influential members of society. These members then presented paternalistic optimism in such a way, that the lower classes unquestioningly accepted these teachings as a way of their life. Candide was written as a counter-response to this philosophy, and became very controversial in pre-revolutionary French society. Through the philosophical underpinnings of paternalistic optimism, Voltaire explores the idea of a parodic Christ figure, represented by Pangloss, to not only criticize the French social hierarchy during the 1750s, but to suggest that man will blindly follow anything without truly thinking for themselves. The structure of a student-mentor archetype is explored through the relationship between Candide and Pangloss. Mentors typically serve important roles for students such as teaching, giving gifts, serving as a conscience, or planting inspirational ideas. Pangloss takes on the role of a mentor by espousing the idea that ‘everything is for the best’ and furthermore engraining this within Candide. The student-mentor relationship functions to be something so genuine…

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