What causes Candide to to drop his Panglossian views?Candide by Voltaire

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter XIX of Voltaire's Candide, Cacambo who has "a restless spirit" and Candide, who cannot live without Lady Cunegonde leave Eldorado with their jewels and other possessions on the backs of one hundred red sheep.  Along the way there sheep die of fatigue and perish as they jump off cliffs.  Finally, after they have traveled for one hundred days, only two sheep are left.  As they approach the town, they find a pitiable slave who left leg and right hand are missing.  When the slave relates his tragic life, Candide cries,

'Oh, Pangloss!...This is an abomination you never dreamed of!  It's too much:  I'll have to give up your optimism at last.'

'What's optimism?' asked Cacambo.

'Alas,' said  Candide, "it's a mania for insisting that everything is all right when everything is going wrong.'

Then, in the final chapter, Candide realizes that there is no happiness to simply be attained; one must establish one's own order like the Turk who has an estate on which his children and he cultivate fruit, nuts, and coffee.  So, when Pangloss obstinately preaches his theory of "the best of all possible worlds," Candide replies,

'Well said...,but we must cultivate our garden.'