Sunday, February 6, 2011

Candide Outline

Which do you prefer: Pangloss's optimism or Martin's pessimism?  Why?
  1. Thesis: In Voltaire's Candide, Pangloss's optimistic view of the world is based merely on his personal religious beliefs, whereas Martin's pessimistic view is based on the logical outcomes in difficult situations and personal experience; thus, Martin's pessimism is more realistic and would have been more beneficial to Candide who faced many obstacles during his life.
    1. Pangloss is Candide's tutor and an optimistic philosopher, whose own personal experiences contradict his beliefs, when he is almost killed on several accounts.
    2. Martin is one of Candide's travel partners, who lives a philosophy of pessimism because he has suffered many tragedies in his life, like Candide.
  1. Pangloss's optimistic view of the world is based merely on his personal religious beliefs.
    1. Pangloss believes that everything happens for the best, and this is the best of all possible worlds.
      1. Pangloss believes that the world must be perfect because it was created by a perfect, all-good, and all-powerful God.
    1. Pangloss is nearly killed on several accounts, but he still maintains his optimistic beliefs; even in the end of the novel when he admits it is difficult to believe.
    2. Pangloss completely ignores all evidence that goes against his beliefs, and makes absurd arguments supporting that do not make any sense with his philosophy.
    3. Pangloss also believes that one should not try to make things right in the world because there is nothing that could be wrong.
      1. He tells Candide not to save Jacques when he is drowning in the bay because God created the bay explicitly for Jacques to drown in it.
  1. Martin's pessimistic view is based on the logical outcomes in difficult situations and personal experience.
    1. Martin is able to use his experience to give understanding to situations that Pangloss is not qualified to give.
    2. Martin is able to predict that Giroflée and Paquette will still not be happy even when they have money.
    3. Martin uses reason and logic in his philosophy, comparing him to many thinkers of the Enlightenment period.
    4. Martin believes that both good and bad things can happen in the world.
      1. If good things can happen, then bad things are also capable of happening.
    1. Martin's beliefs may seem extremely pessimistic, but they only seem that way when compared to Pangloss's extremely optimistic beliefs; he is just seeing things realistically and logically.
  1. Pangloss's philosophy is representative of G. W. von Leibniz's beliefs, and Martin's philosophy represents Voltaire's beliefs.
    1. Pangloss's beliefs parody Leibniz's philosophy, which states that the world is perfect because it was created by a perfect God.
      1. Everything that happens in the world is for the best because this is the best world possible.
      2. When one believes that something is evil, it is because they do not understand the good that the evil will serve.
    1. Martin's beliefs are in accordance with Voltaire's beliefs.
      1. Voltaire prefers philosophy based on true evidence and experience, rather than philosophy based on religious and personal beliefs.
    1. Martin's character was created to contradict Pangloss's character.
      1. Voltaire created Martin so that he could express his own beliefs throughout the novel.
  1. Martin's pessimistic view is more realistic and would have been far more beneficial for Candide to follow his advice.
    1. The views of the characters, Martin and Pangloss, were influenced by outside opinions.
    2. Pangloss's view of everything happens for the best in the best of all possible worlds is much too dependent on religious beliefs to be realistic.
    3. Martin's view of pessimism and logical thinking is far more realistic because it is based on experience and reason.

1 comment:

  1. Could it be argued that Pangloss's optimism is informed by his experience as well -- in that his religion is part of his experience?