In Candide, Voltaire presents one of the most famous lines in literature, putting it in the mouth of the one of the most famous philosphers in literature, Dr. Pangloss.
"All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds," Pangloss says. "Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes possibles."
However, as easy as it is to find explanations of this philosophy in English or in French, your choice, it is not as easy to find grammatical analyses of the line. This line's analysis requires the analyzer take a long, hard look at each of the three prepositional phrases and determine their best possible locations. That is not to say, of course, that Voltaire did not place them in their best of all possible locations in the best of all possible lines, just that the analysis can lead to a better understanding.
Subject and Verb: "Tout est"
First Prepositional Phrase: "pour le mieux"
Second Prepositional Phrase: "dans le meilleur"
Third Prepositional Phrase: "des mondes possibles"
Final Diagram: "Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes possibles."
The final diagram for Dr. Pangloss's philosophical sound byte looks to be a rearrangement of the original that does, indeed, assist with understanding, whether that understanding aligns with accepted meanings or semantically stands apart from accepted meanings: "All in the best of all possible worlds is for the best," or "Tout dans le meilleur des mondes possibles est pour le mieux."
Want to read more about analyzing literature? Try
Diagramming a Poem by Mina Loy
Writing about Unctuous Characters
Using Existentialism as Literary Analysis
Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Please contact the author for permission to republish.