Cacambo sheds a subtle and interesting light on the philosophical themes of the novel. Unlike any other character in the novel, he inspires perfect confidence, both in his intelligence and his moral uprightness. He knows both native American and European languages, and deals capably with both the Jesuits and the Biglugs. He suffers fewer gross misfortunes than any other character, less out of luck than because of his sharp wits, and he lives up to Candide’s trust when Candide sends him to fetch Cunégonde. Any reader tempted to conclude that Voltaire has no faith in human nature must reconsider when faced with the example of Cacambo. Despite the optimism Cacambo inspires, however, he is no optimist himself. His wide experience of the world has led Cacambo to conclude that “the law of nature teaches us to kill our neighbor.”
More characters from Candide
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