RatLeavingShip.jpgVoltaire uses a real world metaphor in Candide, mice represent man and the sultan represents god: “‘ …What does it matter?,’ said the dervish, “ if there is evil or is there is good? When his highness the Sultan sends a ship to Egypt, does he worry about whether the mice on board the ship are comfortable or not?’” (92). The Dervish has said that god has created the worlds but not for man, and that god is not concerned about the men living in the world he has created. The mice which represent men, believe that the boat which represents the world was created for them by the Sultan who represents god, and believe that the Sultan has their best interests in mind. They believe that their fate has been predetermined by the Sultan and that everything that happens to them is for the best of the world which is the “best of all possible worlds” (4) because it was created by the Sultan.
The dervish expresses Voltaire view of the world. Voltaire uses the dervish in Candide to object to the philosophical idea of Optimism created by Leibniz. Optimism is the belief that our world is the best of all worlds that god has created. Voltaire uses Pangloss to represent Leibniz in his book Candide. This passage ends with the dervish shutting the door in Pangloss’ face when he continues to speak of optimism. This shows that Voltaire believes that Leibniz ignores objections to his philosophy and continues to speak of it as if there are no relevant objections.