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Voltaire's Candide is satire:
Candide, asserted [a] reviewer, "is an attempt to ridicule the notion that 'all things are for the best...'"
With this in mind, the first most colorful and strongly convicted characters is Dr. Pangloss. He stands out because his reasoning is so flawed, however this comes from his strong convictions his this was the "best of all possible worlds:"
[Pangloss] proved [this] admirably[in that]...His Lordship's castle was the most beautiful of castles, and Her Ladyship the best of all possible baronesses.
"It is demonstrated," he said, "that things cannot be otherwise: for, since everything was made for a purpose, everything is necessarily for the best purpose. Note that noses were made to wear spectacles; we therefore have spectacles..."
Pangloss is respected by the occupants of the castle.
At first Candide seems naive and lacking in knowledge of the world—which leads to Cunegonde's father thrashing him and throwing him out of the castle when he innocently takes liberties with the man's daughter. The fact that he listens so appreciatively to Pangloss can only make the reader have little sympathy for him—at first. However, we find as the story progresses that while naive, he, too, is a man of conviction, and a colorful character as well.
Voltaire portrays Candide in an overly dramatic fashion. Sleeping in the snow and without food for only one day, Candide is near death:
The next day, chilled to the bone, he dragged himself to the nearest town...Penniless, dying of hunger and fatigue, he stopped sadly in front of an inn.
Then he is impressed into the Bulgar army, clueless as to what is happening to him. Because of his feelings of goodwill toward human beings, he joins men he knows nothing about, who soon imprison him, training him to serve the Bulgar army.
However, as Candide moves on, we find that he is a man of—albeit misguided—conviction. He believes, still, that this is the best of all possible worlds, and things that occur are for the best. Moderately intelligent (though easily influenced), Candide believes that since he has legs (as Pangloss would reason) they are there to be used.
One fine spring day he decided to take a stroll: he walked straight ahead, believing that the free use of the legs was a privilege of both mankind and the animals. He had not gone five miles when four other heroes...overtook him, brought him back and put him in a dungeon.
Punished so badly that he chooses to die, the King of the Bulgars saves him, realizing that Candide was...
...a young metaphysician, utterly ignorant of worldly matters and pardoned him...
War breaks out between the Bulgars and the Avars—both sides destroy the towns belonging to each other with savage butchery. Candide uses the chaos of battle to escape into Holland. Here, again, he has strong convictions.
His food ran out when he reached Holland, but since he had heard that everyone was rich in that country, and that the people were Christians, he did not doubt that he would be treated as well there as he had been in the baron's castle...
Based on his recent history at the cast, this is true; Candide is ironically persecuted by "a man who had just spoken about charity for a whole hour in front of a large assembly."
Pangloss and Candide both suffer greatly because of their unrealistic ideas about the "best possible world" in which they live—Voltaire's point, really. However, both characters are quite colorful and strongly convicted.
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