Candide Questions and Answers
by Voltaire

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What are some examples of the different kinds of irony in Candide?

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As one observes with Candide, irony is a weapon in Voltaire's hands. He uses it to attack the irrationalities and abuses of the world.

Possibly one of the most striking examples of situational irony in Candide lies in the character of Pangloss, introduced as Candide's teacher and described as "the oracle of the family." With his role and reputation, one might think him wise or knowledgeable, but when we actually hear what he teaches, we find that it's all nonsense. Consider his words from Candide's opening chapter:

He proved admirably that there is no effect without a cause, and that, in this best of all possible worlds, the Baron's castle was the most magnificent of castles, and his lady the best of all possible Baronesses.

"It is demonstrable," said he, "that things cannot be otherwise than as they are . . . Observe, that the nose has been formed to bear spectacles—thus we have spectacles. Legs are visibly designed for stockings—and we have stockings."

The nonsense goes on; it's all...

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