Published in 1759, the satire Candide is considered Voltaire’s signature work. It centers around the adventures of the title character, a good-hearted but hopelessly naïve young man whose opinions and actions are determined almost entirely by the influence of outside factors. In Candide, Voltaire levels his sharpest criticism against nobility, philosophy, the church, and cruelty. Though often considered a representative text of the Enlightenment, the novel actually savagely satires a number of Enlightenment philosophies and demonstrates that the Enlightenment was a far from monolithic movement.


Read one-minute Sparklet summaries, the detailed chapter-by-chapter Summary & Analysis or the Full Book Summary of Candide.


See a complete list of the characters in Candide and in-depth analyses of Candide, Pangloss, Martin, and Cacambo.

Literary Devices

Here's where you'll find analysis of the key themes, symbols, and motifs in Candide.

Deeper Study

Go further in your study of Candide with background information about Voltaire and his satire, an historical context essay about the Enlightenment, and mini essays.