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to the baron, if you hadn’t lost all your sheep from the good land of Eldorado, you wouldn’t be sitting here eating candied citron and pistachios. —That is very well put, said Candide, but we must go and work our garden.This is the final passage of the novel. The cure for the crushing boredom described in the previous quotation has been found in the hard work of gardening. As Pangloss points out, this cure recalls thestate of mankind in the garden of Eden, where man was master of all things. On their small plot of land in Turkey, these characters seem to have a control over their destinies that they could not achieve in their lives up until this point. Instead of living at the mercy of circumstances, they are—literally—reaping what they sow. It is, of course, surprising that this fictional argument against optimism should be presented as a happy ending. Given this ending, the reader might for the first time be inclined to wonder whether Pangloss is right in claiming to live in “the best of possible worlds.” But that claim and all arguments against it are proscribed by the lifestyle the characters have discovered. As Candide implies in his final line, gardening leaves no time for philosophical speculation, and everyone is happier and more productive as a result.1.What is the relationship between Candide’s adventures and Pangloss’s teachings?Candiderepresents an extended criticism of the ideas of the seventeenth-century philosopher Leibniz. Voltaire casts Pangloss as a satirical representation of Leibniz. Leibniz conceptualized the world in terms of a pre-determined harmony, claiming that evil exists only to highlight good and that this world is the best possible world because God created it. Leibniz’s concept of the world is part of a larger school of thought called theodicy, which attempts to explain the existence of evil in a world created by an omniscient, omnipotent, perfectly good God. Voltaire criticizes this school for its undiluted optimism. If this is the best possible world, his story suggests, then why should anyone try to alleviate suffering? Pangloss is also a parody of an excessively abstract philosopher. Voltaire scorned philosophers who did not base their arguments on knowledge gathered from a study of the world. Pangloss talks about the structure of the world, but knows little about it since he has lived an idle life inside a castle. Candide believes Pangloss’s philosophy without question because he has never had any direct experiences with the outside world.Candide’s adventures begin with his expulsion from the castle. The series of misfortunes that befall him serve as a re-education via direct experience with the world. His experiences in the real world directly contradict Pangloss’s optimism. In reality, the world is a terrible place full of evil, cruelty and suffering. Thus, Candide and the reader are forced to reject optimism. Still, the novel does not conclude in favor of absolute pessimism either. Candide eventually finds happiness in hard work and
rejects all questions of good and evil or optimism and pessimism. It is only when Candide gives up