Candide

Candide
Overview
Main Charcters
Themes
Exiled from his German home, naive and optimistic Candide travels the world of the 1750s in search of truth, wealth, and lost love. Voltaire's satirical novella refutes the basic premise of philosophical optimism, a philosophy that states that we live in the best possible world: "Whatever is, is for the best."
Pangloss
Candide's optimistic tutor
Cunegonde
Object of Candide's affection; turns ugly and mean
Candide
Impressionable young man
Cacambo
Candide's squire and friend; sold into slavery
Martin
Candide's pessimistic traveling companion
Young Baron
Candide's cousin; refuses to let Candide marry his sister
Fall of Optimism
Candide begins his journey believing in divine reasons for everything but learns that sometimes there's no explanation for evil.
Religious Intolerance
Voltaire's use of traditional stereotypes to represent different religions shows the absurdity of prejudice.
Money & Misery
Candide thinks his problems will be solved when he secures a large fortune, but it just leads to more issues.
Symbols
Red Sheep
Candide's one remaining red sheep (actually a llama) out of a flock of over 100 symbolizes his last shred of optimism.
Syphilis
Spread like original sin to people including Pangloss, its presence shows the dangers of empire building.
Garden
The garden where Candide and company finally make their home thrives on equal treatment and busy hands.
Numbering
1
Surviving manuscript, written in 1758
18
Hours per day Voltaire spent money
50
Cups of coffee Voltaire reportedly drank per day
3
Days it took Voltaire to write Candide, according to myth
Author
VOLTAIRE 1694-1778
Born Francois-Marie Arouet, Voltaire was a prolific writer and outspoken critic of government and religion who kept French tongues wagging through the 18th century. Voltaire was a human rights champion whose ideas are considered to be partly responsible for the French Revolution, which happened years after his death.
6