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What are the characters' views at the end of Candide?

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pat-12-25 | eNoter

Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:54 AM via web

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What are the characters' views at the end of Candide?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:54 AM (Answer #1)

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The ending of this story exposes the hilarity of Voltaire's thoughts concerning intense philosophical speculation. After spending an entire novel trying to show that the characters live in the "best of all possible worlds," in spite of the massive sufferings that they suffer, the characters all find themselves stuck on a farm and very bored. This boredom, the characters discover, is worse than any of the sufferings they have endured. Finally, they find release and distraction in hard work as they work the soil and grow their own crops and vegetables. Martin says that hard work without time for philosophical speculation is "the only way to make life bearable," and the ending certaintly demonstrates this in a humorous way, as Pangloss is cut off from his attempts to speculate with the following response from Candide:

That is very well put, said Candide, but we must go and work our garden.

All the characters, except perhaps for Pangloss, show themselves to have exchanged meaningless and fruitless philosophical speculation for hard work in the garden, demonstrating how a practical work ethic is of inestimable value compared to wasting time in useless philosophical debate. By the end of the novel, the majority of the characters are far wiser because of this discovery, and most have abandoned their commitment to optimism for something that reflects reality far more.

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