full title · Candide, or Optimism
author · Voltaire (pen name of François-Marie Arouet)
type of work · Novel
genre · Satire; adventure novel
language · French
time and place written · Schwetzingen, Prussia; and Geneva, Switzerland; 1758–1759
date of first publication · January or February, 1759
publisher · Gabriel Cramer
narrator · Anonymous satirical narrator
point of view · The narrator speaks in the third person, focusing on the perspective and experiences of Candide. Events and characters are described objectively most of the time. Occasionally, they are described as Candide sees them, but this is always done with an ironic tone.
tone · Ironic; melodramatic
tense · Past and present
setting (time) · 1750s
setting (place) · Various real and fictional locations in Europe and South America
protagonist · Candide
major conflict · Candide and Pangloss’s optimistic world view is challenged by numerous disasters; Candide’s love for Cunégonde is repeatedly thwarted.
rising action · Candide is expelled from his home for kissing Cunégonde; he wanders the world attempting to preserve his life and reunite with his beloved.
climax · Candide finds Cunégonde enslaved in Turkey; the two are married.
falling action · Candide, Cunégonde, Pangloss, and their friends struggle with boredom; they find solace in gardening.
themes · The folly of optimism; the uselessness of philosophical speculation; the hypocrisy of religion; the corrupting power of money
motifs · Resurrection; rape; political oppression
symbols · Pangloss; the garden; the Lisbon earthquake
foreshadowing · There is virtually no foreshadowing in this wildly chaotic narrative. Candide’s repeated musings about what Pangloss would think of events foreshadows Pangloss’s “resurrection.”
"Moreover, in the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve enjoyed the fruits of nature without having to work..."
I don't think that's true. Genesis 2:15 says, "The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." Adam's purpose was to work even before the fall, which happens in Genesis 3. Also, I don't believe that Adam and Eve fell from God's grace. Yes, God said "you shall surely die" if you eat of the fruit, and they did, but it was actually God's grace that made them go out of the garden to prevent them from li... Read more→
32 out of 53 people found this helpful
What I got from this book is that whether Panglos is right or not. Whether Pessimism or Optimism prevailed, it doesn't do any good to philosophy over it.
Man was placed in the garden to work, not to be idle.
I believe that in the end Candide gave up on arguing - he simply realised the pointlessness of doing it and that true happiness will be by living life without thinking about it the whole time.
Thanks for your post.
3 out of 4 people found this helpful
Honestly I don't think this book has anything to do with religion, right or wrong. Any type of theorizing, philosophy, formal religion, or even societal emphasis on what is important is represented as something negative. For example, all church figures are corrupt, philosophers Pangloss and Martin no matter what their opinions are either ignorant or miserable. The happiest (and eventually model) character is the farmer, who thinks and works for himself. Voltaire was jaded by the corruption of religion and hopeless optimism of philosophy and ... Read more→
19 out of 24 people found this helpful