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Martin

Martin

Martin acts as both foil and counterpart to Pangloss. He is more believable than the other major characters in the novel, not because he is more complex, but because he is more intelligent and more likely to draw conclusions with which we can identify. A scholar who has suffered personal and financial setbacks, Martin is as extreme a pessimist as Pangloss is an optimist. He even takes issue with Candide’s statement that “there is some good” in the world. Direct experience plays a greater part in Martin’s estimation of the world than it does in Pangloss’s. As a result, he is able to provide insight into events far beyond Pangloss’s ability to do so. Martin demonstrates such insight when he predicts that Giroflée and Paquette will not be happier for having money and when he analyzes the psychology of Count Pococurante.

Though Martin’s philosophy is more effective and honest than Pangloss’s, it also has some of the same flaws. While Martin is usually good at predicting how people will behave, he fails noticeably with Cacambo. Martin’s absolute pessimism dictates that a valet trusted with millions in gold will certainly betray his master, yet Cacambo’s honesty defies that pessimism. Voltaire prefers flexible philosophies based on real evidence to dogmatic assertions based on abstractions. Absolute optimism and absolute pessimism both fall into the latter category, because they will admit no exceptions. Like Pangloss, Martin abides by ideas that discourage any active efforts to change the world for the better. If, as Martin asserts, “man [is] bound to live either in convulsions of misery or in the lethargy of boredom,” why should anyone try to rescue anyone else from “convulsions of misery”?

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Naiveté
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Adam and Eve

by sary56, August 20, 2013

"Moreover, in the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve enjoyed the fruits of nature without having to work..."
I don't think that's true. Genesis 2:15 says, "The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." Adam's purpose was to work even before the fall, which happens in Genesis 3. Also, I don't believe that Adam and Eve fell from God's grace. Yes, God said "you shall surely die" if you eat of the fruit, and they did, but it was actually God's grace that made them go out of the garden to prevent them from li... Read more

4 Comments

42 out of 71 people found this helpful

Life life

by Jekemi, January 05, 2014

What I got from this book is that whether Panglos is right or not. Whether Pessimism or Optimism prevailed, it doesn't do any good to philosophy over it.
Man was placed in the garden to work, not to be idle.

I believe that in the end Candide gave up on arguing - he simply realised the pointlessness of doing it and that true happiness will be by living life without thinking about it the whole time.

Thanks for your post.

Jacques

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3 out of 4 people found this helpful

This Book is About...

by AlexM4ck, April 30, 2014

Honestly I don't think this book has anything to do with religion, right or wrong. Any type of theorizing, philosophy, formal religion, or even societal emphasis on what is important is represented as something negative. For example, all church figures are corrupt, philosophers Pangloss and Martin no matter what their opinions are either ignorant or miserable. The happiest (and eventually model) character is the farmer, who thinks and works for himself. Voltaire was jaded by the corruption of religion and hopeless optimism of philosophy and ... Read more

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38 out of 47 people found this helpful

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