Orgon and Candide from Moliere’s “Tartuffe” and Voltaire’s “Candide”


The wisdom of classical literary works is a valuable legacy that the authors of past eras left to posterity. The images of many characters, their experiences, thoughts, and actions make one think about the serious aspects of human life and the process of cognition. In order to better understand the approaches of individual authors, one can consider two world-famous works with vivid and memorable plots, where the authors raise urgent problems. As objects of analysis, the comedy Tartuffe by Moliere and the novel Candide by Voltaire will be used. The characters that will be observed are Orgon and Candide, respectively. Despite some similarities in the transformation stories of these two young people, their differences in outlook on worldview are obvious. Orgon’s arrogance and Candide’s obedience are those features that allow talking about the distinctive principles of the interpretation of life challenges and the goals that a person sets for oneself, based on circumstances.

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Epistemological View

Orgon’s arrogance is the trait that defines his attitude to reality and serves as an explanation of his worldview based on hypocrisy. Despite gullibility, the man is not ready to accept some truths that are the values of that society and has individual views on the verity and its manifestation. In one scene, Orgon refers to Marianne and gives the following argument: “The more you loathe the man, and dread him, the more ennobling it will be to wed him” (De Moliere IV.ii.36-37). This opinion suggests that the person is practical and deliberately avoids problems so as not to feel discomfort. His self-identity is based on the recognition of common truths but in the format that suits him and gives him an opportunity to interpret them at his discretion. Ultimately, when Orgon thanks the king for his generosity, he realizes that the best position is to recognize common views while following personal convictions. The inability to accept some features of human interaction forms an individual philosophy. Therefore, such an opinion and assessment of reality is the character’s unique knowledge and his key position in relation to the process of cognition.

Candide’s sincerity in Voltaire’s novel is the trait that distinguishes him from Orgon and, thus, affects the character’s worldview and his cognition process. Candide belongs to the role of a simple hero, he is a witness and a victim of all social vices. He trusts people and learns that there is no consequence without reason, and everything that happens in the world is for the better. When Candide knelt down and quoted his Master saying that “everything was for the best in this world,” he deliberately acknowledged his weaknesses and was ready to accept the surrounding reality (Voltaire 7). Unlike Orgon, who has individual views, Candide adapts to circumstances and takes the views of many other people for axioms. In his conversation with Martin, the young man notes that “one often meets with those whom one never expected to see again,” and this knowledge suggests that he believes in the best, despite difficulties (Voltaire 77). Periodic manifestations of pessimism confirm that Candide learns new things about the world, but he is ready to accept it as it is, and this sincere approach differs significantly from that supported by Orgon.

Key Life Positions and Goals

In Orgon, Moliere creates a special type of comic character who believes in the truth of his personal feelings with their objective falsity, and this perception of reality is a unique feature of the man. His torment is perceived by the reader as an expression of moral retribution, the triumph of a positive beginning. He is the father of the family, an adult who is successful. However, he simultaneously embodies the lack of self-sufficiency that, as a rule, characteristic of children. In a spiritual context, Orgon is not independent, he does not know himself, is easily suggestible, and becomes a victim of self-blindness. In the last scene, he changes his initial views and calls for the following: “Well said: let’s go at once and, gladly kneeling, express the gratitude which all are feeling” (De Moliere V.vii.103-104). This means that the character is ready to easily adapt to changes when it comes to his well-being and honor. The provision of services to others at the expense of personal gain is one of the features that characterize Orgon and his life position, and his worldview is not associated with self-esteem and honor.

Uncertainty and impulsiveness are those traits that distinguish Candide from Orgon and create a unique look for the young man. Unlike the character of Moliere, the hero of Voltaire changes without adapting to circumstances but grows up and understands more. His phrase “we must take care of our garden” speaks of the outcome of the development of enlightening thought (Voltaire 97). Every person should clearly limit one’s field of activity, one’s “garden,” and work on it steadily, constantly, vigorously, without questioning the usefulness and meaning of his or her studies. Candide’s life is hard, but he suffers all difficulties, believing in people and trusting those who are close to him. He does not indulge in despair, and contemplation is replaced by actions that transform Candide from an impulsive young man to a mature and intelligent person. Throughout the novel, the character gets rid of the illusions of optimism but is in no hurry to accept the extremes of pessimism. This approach characterizes Candida as a highly spiritual and bright person who is ready to overcome challenges to achieve harmony and satisfy his simple and clear needs without harming others.


The unique traits of the two heroes examined, in particular, Orgon’s arrogance and Candide’s obedience, distinguish these people and demonstrate different approaches to the worldview and the process of cognition. Both authors present clear pictures that allow us to evaluate the unique properties of behavior and attitudes toward life. The values ​​promoted by the Orgon are based on the use of personal benefits, despite his simplicity and non-independence. Candide’s position is more spiritual and is characterized by a belief in the best. The evaluative judgments made by both characters help determine how harmonious their personalities are and what conclusions they draw throughout the entire narrative stage. The approaches promoted by Moliere and Voltaire prove that, despite some similarities, for instance, uncertainty, the characters set themselves different life goals and priorities. Orgon intends to establish relationships with everyone he did not notice while he was blinded by Tartuffe and his leadership. Candide, on the contrary, intends to concentrate on personal harmony, and his position assumes calmness and honor. Both works help delve deeper into the images of the characters and demonstrate the professionalism of the authors.

Works Cited

De Moliere, Jean Baptiste Poquelin. Tartuffe. Curtis Brown, 1989. Web.

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Voltaire, Francois. Candide. Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, 1998. Web.

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"Orgon and Candide from Moliere’s “Tartuffe” and Voltaire’s “Candide”." StudyCorgi, 9 June 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Orgon and Candide from Moliere’s “Tartuffe” and Voltaire’s “Candide”." June 9, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Orgon and Candide from Moliere’s “Tartuffe” and Voltaire’s “Candide”." June 9, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Orgon and Candide from Moliere’s “Tartuffe” and Voltaire’s “Candide”." June 9, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Orgon and Candide from Moliere’s “Tartuffe” and Voltaire’s “Candide”'. 9 June.

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