© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Candide

Candide

by Voltaire

Dr. Pangloss

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Dr. Pangloss, like the majority of the main characters in Candide, symbolizes an ideology and a way of life. Pangloss’s absolute Optimism is a mockery of the philosophy of an Enlightenment thinker named Leibniz. Despite all of his personal misfortunes and the immense suffering he observes around him, Pangloss irrationally insists that all evil in the world is necessary and ultimately for the best. The word "pangloss" in Greek literally means "all tongue," so he’s a guy that can’t stop talking. Dr. Pangloss endlessly philosophizes, offering rambling lectures or contrived defenses of his beliefs even at the most inappropriate moments of crisis. (For more information, see Dr. Pangloss in the Character Analysis section.)

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement