Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Voltaire, Candide, World, Literature, Development, Religion, Character, The Reader

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/21

Voltaire has been one of the most influential writers of the Renaissance. His writings reflect the spirit of the époque with a glance of humor and self-irony. Voltaire was an ardent advocate of freedom in all its manifestations. He wrote about justice and loyalty to ultimate values such as dignity, honor, and honesty. He fought the prejudices and intolerance, religious dogma and the unjust and obsolete French institutions of his time. Voltaire’s characters are honest and good-hearted. However, Voltaire has been famous not only for his fictional writings. His interests lay in the areas of philosophy, history, religion, politics, and social development (Besterman, 1969). With his literary works, Voltaire has made a significant contribution to the greatness of French Enlightenment and the history of France. This paper will focus on one of the most well-known writings of Voltaire – Candide in order to explore the genius of the writer and analyze his mastery to surprise the reader with unexpected whirls of the story.
Candide is the satire about religion, theologians, governments, armies, philosophies, and philosophers – all these topics are ridiculed by Voltaire through delicate allegory. The main hero of the same name is the illegitimate nephew of one of the German barons. He grows up in the baron’s castle under the guidance of the scholar Pangloss, another main character of the story. Pangloss is the philosopher whose personality is inseparable from the philosophy he follows and teaches. The character of Pangloss as well as Candide is far from the realistic individuals. Voltaire has introduced them to the reader in such way to exaggerate and ridicule their most noticeable features – Candide’s reckless optimism and Pangloss’ blind and groundless commitment to his philosophical ideas that often fail to deal with challenges of the real world (Leister, 1985). Furthermore, Pangloss is the caricature of Voltaire’s contemporary, the famous Enlightenment thinker Leibniz.
Martin and Cacambo are the other two major characters of Candide. Martin is much more “real” character than Candide and Pangloss. He is more complex and intelligent. Martin draws conclusions that are more comprehensible to the modern reader because they are well-argued and practical. In contrast with Candide, Martin has rather a pessimistic view on the world than a blind faith that everything is for the best. He is good at reading, analyzing, and predicting people’s behavior (Leister, 1985). Nevertheless, he mistakes in Cacambo thinking that money would make the valet betray his master (Voltaire, 1990). This is when Martin’s pessimism does not allow him to believe in honest and dignity of people and his judgment fails. Cacambo is Candide’s valet in America who lived half of his life in Spain and another half in Latin America. Cacambo’s character is slightly different from the other heroes of the satire. He seems to have perfect confidence in his intelligence and moral uprightness. He is bilingual and knows his way with both the Jesuits and the Biglugs. Cacambo can be considered a realist because he relies mostly on his experience and abilities rather than on faith in justice, wisdom, and kindness of humanity (Leister, 1985).
The main characters of Candide act according to their beliefs which are well illustrated by Voltaire in order to convince the reader in logic and rationality of the plot. However, the story has surprises that make it more interesting and catchy. The major surprise that Voltaire has prepared for his readers awaits them in the end of the story. The last chapters illustrate the succession of misfortunes that catch up with the main heroes. None of the characters feel happy in the end of their journey, and their hopes and expectations face the invariability of the cruel reality. Their dreams fall apart as they experience severe disappointment in life, destiny, and humanity. The logic suggests that the story must have an unhappy and pessimistic ending because heroes are abandoned in their misery. However, Voltaire decides that they should be saved from decay and inspired by new opportunities.
Seeking for happiness, Candide and his friends stops at a roadside farm and meets its residents – a humble farmer and his family who work hard, but find pleasure in their labour. The view of this quiet happiness inspires Candide and his group, and he decides that they must form a garden of their own and try to find peace in work (Voltaire, 1990). Surprisingly, this idea works and the main characters find release from their suffering in honest and simple labour. This solution does not seem to fit the previous development of the plot, but Voltaire sure had his reasons to make such an unexpected change.
The characters find peace in their garden calming their passions and worries, but the misery is still prevalent in the world outside the garden. Candide and his friends seem to have a perfect position to make an attempt to change the world for better with their wealth and security, but they choose to cut themselves off from the world wishing to escape their own unhappiness (Leister, 1985). Voltaire may have seen this withdrawal as the only wise solutions for people who are weak in their nature.


Besterman, T. (1969). Voltaire. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.
Leister, E. C. (1985). Voltaire's Candide. Woodbury, N.Y: Barron's Educational Series.
Voltaire. (1990). Candide. Raleigh, N.C: Alex Catalogue.

Cite this page
Choose cite format:
  • APA
  • MLA
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • Chicago
  • ASA
  • IEEE
  • AMA
WePapers. (2020, October, 21) Candide Essays Examples. Retrieved June 15, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/candide-essays-examples/
"Candide Essays Examples." WePapers, 21 Oct. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/candide-essays-examples/. Accessed 15 June 2024.
WePapers. 2020. Candide Essays Examples., viewed June 15 2024, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/candide-essays-examples/>
WePapers. Candide Essays Examples. [Internet]. October 2020. [Accessed June 15, 2024]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/candide-essays-examples/
"Candide Essays Examples." WePapers, Oct 21, 2020. Accessed June 15, 2024. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/candide-essays-examples/
WePapers. 2020. "Candide Essays Examples." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved June 15, 2024. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/candide-essays-examples/).
"Candide Essays Examples," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 21-Oct-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/candide-essays-examples/. [Accessed: 15-Jun-2024].
Candide Essays Examples. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/candide-essays-examples/. Published Oct 21, 2020. Accessed June 15, 2024.

Share with friends using:

Related Premium Essays
Other Pages
Contact us
Chat now