Voltaire's "Candide" has many themes, though one central, philosophical theme traverses the entire work. This theme is a direct assault on the philosophy of Leibniz, Pope and others. Leibniz held that the world created by God was the best possible world with perfect order and reason. Alexander Pope, similarly, in his Essay on Man, argues that every human being is a part of a greater, rational, grand design of God. Pangloss stresses this viewpoint--that what appears to be evil is actually part of a greater good--when he asserts to Jacques that "private misfortunes make for public welfare."
Voltaire, on the other hand, found that his own experiences contradicted this optimistic determinism. Much like his protagonist, Candide, Voltaire must abandon this belief after realizing the needless suffering that surrounds him.
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