Can a person have faith without suffering or endure suffering without faith?  Voltaire is obviously satarizing Candide's belief in Pangloss' philosophy and the way he holds steadfast to this...

Can a person have faith without suffering or endure suffering without faith?  

Voltaire is obviously satarizing Candide's belief in Pangloss' philosophy and the way he holds steadfast to this philosophy during the most trying of times.  This particular philosophy may have been extreme, but don't most of us cling strongest to our faith during times of tribulation?

Asked on by dajones805

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

As the first post has stated, the philosophy of Optimism of Pangloss is one that is not logical, so it is empty. It is so empty and foolish that when Candide and the others arrive in the land where things are actually great, the others do not even recognize the goodness and plenty that surround them.  Instead, they refuse to listen to Candide and depart.  Because of their foolish reactions and his other experiences, Candide emerges as more of an existential man who is convinced that the individual is responsible for carving out his own life.

writergal06's profile pic

writergal06 | Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

Definitely. For most people, suffering serves as a trial for our faith, and reveals whether or not we have faith in something that is able to sustain us. I think Voltaire is showing that faith in empty words is not enough. Pangloss's view of that whatever happens is the best thing that can happen is based off circular reasoning and has no real power. It completely denies the fact that man is fallible and corrupt, and makes mistakes quite frequently. The message isn't "Don't believe in anything, because all is futile," but rather, "Have faith in something worth having faith in."

filosofreak's profile pic

filosofreak | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Good points. According to Pongloss' last conversation with Candide, Voltaire leans towards the idea of fate and that our lives are predestined. He establishes the idea that everything happens for a reason and manifests a "domino-effect" idea that lead to their current lives. If I were a betting man, I would bet that their lives would never settle. In other words, if there were a part two of this book, it would go on showing more trials and tribulations while running into misfortunes. Voltaire also reveals a pesimistic aspect. Sure, Candide was finally reunited with his love but at what expense? She was old and ugly and he had lost so much in the process. 

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