Throughout the Age of Enlightenment, many philosophers offered differing answers to the difficult questions on the minds of mankind. Francois-Marie Arouet De Voltaire wrote ?Candide?, in which he placed characters that presented and questioned their ideas regarding philosophy. The two characters with the most opposing viewpoints were Pangloss and Martin; the former being as extreme an optimist as the latter was a pessimist.
With Voltaire?s introduction of his character Pangloss in the very early words of ?Candide?, the reader is immediately led to understand just what this young philosopher in the story represents: It is demonstrable, said [Pangloss], that all things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end. (25) This statement effectively sums Pangloss?s philosophical beliefs, as throughout the text?s duration his other words hold true to this idea. His world concept was, in fact, a direct reflection to that of the real world philosopher Leibniz, a German philosopher and mathematician of Voltaire?s time.
When the character Martin is introduced later in the story, he is presented with the exact opposite outlook than that of Pangloss. The story?s main character, Candide, said to him, ?Surely the devil must be in you? (57). In reply, Martin said, ?He concerns himself so much in the affairs of this world that it is very probable he may be in me as well as everywhere else?? (57). With a belief that such evil exists in the world as the devil likely being in everyone, Martin held a grim and dark philosophy indeed. Just as that of Pangloss, so too did this early statement, made by Martin, quickly define his worldview.
Candide asked a similar question of Pangloss, as to whether the devil was to blame...