Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of Pangloss is his optimism, encapsulated in the philosophy he constantly preaches that "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds." Pangloss’s determination to always look on the bright side of every situation requires him to exercise considerable ingenuity in the midst of his misfortunes. When Candide encounters him in chapter 3, Pangloss is "a beggar all covered with scabs, his eyes diseased, the end of his nose eaten away, his mouth distorted, his teeth black, choking in his throat, tormented with a violent cough, and spitting out a tooth at each effort." He tells Candide, however, that even the syphilis that is killing him is "a necessary ingredient in the best of worlds," for if Columbus had not contracted and spread the disease, “we should have neither chocolate nor cochineal.”
This points to another feature of Pangloss’s character: his obstinacy and refusal to learn from experience. Chapter 28, in which Pangloss is reunited with Candide, ends with the following exchange:
"Well, my dear Pangloss," said Candide to him, "when you had been hanged, dissected, whipped, and were tugging at the oar, did you always think that everything happens for the best?"
"I am still of my first opinion," answered Pangloss, "for I am a philosopher and I cannot retract..."
In his very last words in the book, after a hair-raising series of trials and tribulations which have left him mutilated, Pangloss refers to the "concatenation of events in this best of all possible worlds" which has led them to their present circumstances. This stubbornness makes for an unfortunate combination with the didacticism which is his third prevailing characteristic. Pangloss treats every new circumstance as material for a lecture. He is, of course, a teacher by profession, but his failure to learn anything himself makes his homilies, such as the one above which contains his final words, rather useless.