What Philosophy Does Pangloss Teach Candide?

Pangloss taught Candide in the Baron’s castle. He was a philosopher whose beliefs were limited to optimism in every aspect of life. He thought that humans lived in the best possible world. In particular, every event was for the better, even the most horrible or deplorable one.

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Pangloss is the advocate of philosophical optimism. He was a teacher of metaphysico-theologico-cosmolo-nigology. Pangloss thinks that everything is for the best in our best of the possible worlds. He also says that evil is just a shadow in the beautiful picture of life and that the world is perfect and purposeful. Moreover, everything in it has a good reason. 

In chapter 4, Candide meets Pangloss in the most deplorable state. His eyes grew dull, his nose collapsed, and he was tormented by a violent cough, during which he spat out a tooth at every effort. The author sneers at his character because the illness is a consequence of a particular reason. Pangloss says: if Columbus had not brought this disease from America, we would not have known the taste of chocolate. Everything is natural. 

Pangloss suffers all sorts of disasters throughout several chapters. He is beaten, hanged, sold into slavery, and forced to work hard every day on galleys. Having once believed that everything is for the better, Pangloss remains faithful to his original conviction despite all evidence to the contrary.

Pangloss is a caricatured personification of the theory of optimism as described by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. He does not have any notable traits of character. Every phrase of this character refers to philosophy. Pangloss is a device to test the idea, not a protagonist.  

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