Artboard Created with Sketch. Close Search Dialog
! Error Created with Sketch.



Key Facts

Main ideas Key Facts

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; 17581759

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.”