Candide Study Guide


Candide by Voltaire

Candide is a satire about Candide, a sheltered young man who is educated by the servant Pangloss, how believes that our world is always "the best of all possible worlds". However, Candide is cast out of his happy life for kissing the Lady Cunegonde and forced to travel the world, from Spain to South America. Eventually Candide rescues Cunegonde from Constantinople, where she has been enslaved and they start a farm. In the end, Candide rejects some of Pangloss's optimism but maintains that "we must cultivate our garden".

Main characters

  • Candide: The title character. Illegitimate son of the sister of the baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh. In love with Cunégonde.
  • Cunégonde: The daughter of the baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh. In love with Candide.
  • Professor Pangloss: The royal educator of the court of the baron. Described as "the greatest philosopher of the Holy Roman Empire".
  • The Old Woman: Cunégonde's maid while she was the mistress of Don Issachar and the Grand Inquisitor of Portugal. Fled with Candide and Cunégonde to the New World. Illegitimate daughter of Pope Urban X.
  • Cacambo: From a Spanish father and a Peruvian mother. Lived half his life in Spain and half in Latin America. Candide's valet while in America.
  • Martin: Dutch amateur philosopher and Manichaean. Met Candide in Suriname, travelled with him afterwards.
  • The baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh: Son of the original Baron (a secondary character) and brother of Cunégonde. Thought to have been killed by the Bulgarians. Became a Jesuit in Paraguay.

Secondary characters

  • The baron and baroness of Thunder-ten-Tronckh: Father and mother of Cunégonde and the second baron. Both slain by the Bulgarians.
  • The king of the Bulgarians.
  • Jacques the Anabaptist: Saved Candide from a lynching in the Netherlands. Drowned in the port of Lisbon.
  • Don Issachar: Jewish landlord in Portugal. Cunégonde became his mistress, shared with the Grand Inquisitor of Portugal. Killed by Candide.
  • The Grand Inquisitor of Portugal: Sentenced Candide and Pangloss at the auto-da-fé . Cunégonde was his mistress jointly with Don Issachar. Killed by Candide.
  • Don Fernando d'Ibarra y Figueroa y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza: Spanish governor of Buenos Aires. Wanted Cunégonde as a mistress.
  • The king of El Dorado, who helped Candide and Cacambo out of El Dorado and made them rich.
  • Mynheer Vanderdendur: Dutch ship captain. Offered to take Candide from America to France for 30,000 gold coins, but then departed without him, stealing all his riches.
  • The abbot of Perigord: Befriended Candide and Martin, led the police to arrest them; he and the police officer accepted three diamonds each and released them.
  • The marchioness of Parolignac: Parisian wench who took an elaborate title.
  • The scholar: One of the guests of the "marchioness". Argued with Candide about art.
  • Paquette: The one who gave Pangloss syphilis. After the slaying by the Bulgarians, worked as a prostitute. Became the property of Friar Giroflée.
  • Friar Giroflée: Theatine friar. In love with the prostitute Paquette.
  • Signor Pococurante: A Venetian noble. Candide and Martin visited his estate, where he discussed his disdain of most of the canon of great art.
  • In an inn in Venice, Candide and Martin ate with six foreigners who turned out to be deposed monarchs. They were:
    • Ahmed III
    • Ivan VI of Russia
    • Charles Edward Stuart
    • Augustus III of Poland
    • Stanisław Leszczyński
    • Theodore of Corsica

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