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Themes

Candide is full of philosophers and philosophizing, which only worsens the suffering of the characters. Dr. Pangloss’s endless philosophizing frequently distracts him and Candide from engaging in the world around them. Philosophy is portrayed as the antithesis of virtue, as seen when Candide chooses to listen to Pangloss’s interpretation of the imminence of the Anabaptist’s death rather than saving the man from drowning.

Questions About Philosophical Viewpoints

  1. What, if any, philosophical standpoint is portrayed most favorably in Candide?
  2. How does the discussion of philosophy enhance or detract from the lives of the main characters in Candide?
  3. How does Candide’s response to Pangloss’s philosophy change throughout the course of the novel?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In Candide, the act of philosophizing is at odds with avoiding danger and actively engaging life.

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