Free Study Guide: Candide by Voltaire - Synopsis / Analysis|
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CANDIDE: LITERARY CRITICISM / NOTES
Candide apologizes for having thrust his sword into the Baronís son. The Baronís son admits that he acted hastily. He tells him in detail how he was cured and then sent to Constantinople as Chaplin to the French ambassador. He was beaten badly and sent to the galley for bathing naked with the Sultanís pageboy.
Pangloss too tells his story. When he was to be burned, fire could not be lit due to rain. So they hanged him with a wet rope. After that they thought he died, but actually he did not. A surgeon took his corpse to use it for dissection. Suddenly, Pangloss screamed and the surgeonís wife thought there was a devil in his body and that he was a heretic. Finally his life was saved when a barber stitched him up. He became a servant of a knight in Malta. Later he became a servant of a Venetian merchant in Constantinople. At a mosque a girl with bare breasts happened to drop her flowers. Pangloss picked them and returned them to her, lingering on in the process of doing so. This annoyed the priest. So Pangloss was beaten and sent to the galleys. There he was kept near the Baronís son.
Candide asks Pangloss whether he thought all his misery has been for
the best. Pangloss says that he still believes so. It is unbecoming for
a philosopher to change his mind. He still believes in the theories of
preestablished harmony and the theories of Leibniz.
In the last chapters of the novel, Voltaire gradually and efficiently brings the leading characters together. Panglossís account of all that happened to him is gruesome. Yet his experience of being stitched by a barbed does provide hilarious comedy. Pangloss still believes in his philosophy of optimism. According to him Leibniz cannot be wrong. He thus clings to Leibnizís theories. He continues to believe in the preestablished harmony of the body and soul, which act together because God has thus ordained. He believes that the universe is a ďplenum.Ē It is fullness. Outer space does not and cannot exist. He also believes that the heavenly bodies move in a jelly-like substance, which keeps them in position. Newton disagreed with such ideas and Voltaire agreed with Newton. Here, Voltaire satirizes the philosophical jargon and the obstinacy and vanity of philosophers who do not admit that they are wrong even though they may know it. Voltaire did believe in God. He believed that there was a designer who arranged the happenings of the universe. He however, did not believe that God intervened in the affairs of the world.
It is ironical that the Baronís son who is so proud of his lineage is treated so shabbily. The reader comes to know that in spite of all the humiliation he has gone through, he does no give up his foolish pride. When he is punished for bathing naked with the Sultanís pageboy one does feel that the punishment given to him is too harsh. Yet some critics feel he has homosexual tendencies.
Voltaire has emphasized manís irrationality and cruelty.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on Candide".
. 09 May 2017