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".
Il est démontré, disait-il, que les choses ne peuvent être autrement: car, tout étant fait pour une fin, tout est nécessairement pour la meilleure fin. Remarquez bien que les nez ont été faits pour porter des lunettes, aussi avons-nous des lunettes. Les jambes sont visiblement instituées pour êtrechaussées, et nous avons des chausses. Les pierres ont été formées pour être taillées, et pour en faire des châteaux, aussi monseigneur a un très beau château; le plus grand baron de la province doit être le mieux logé; et, les cochons étant faits pour être mangés, nous mangeons du porc toute l’année: par conséquent, ceux qui ont avancé que tout est bien ont dit une sottise; il fallait dire que tout est au mieux.
"It is demonstrable," said he, "that things cannot be otherwise than they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end. Observe, for instance, the nose is formed for spectacles; therefore we wear spectacles. The legs are visibly designed for stockings; accordingly we wear stockings. Stones were made to be hewn and to construct castles; therefore my lord has a magnificent castle; for the greatest baron in the province ought to be the best lodged. Swine were intended to be eaten; therefore we eat pork all year round. And they who assert that everything is right, do not express themselves correctly; they should say that everything is best."
"Alas!" replied Candide, "it is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst."
"But do not you see," answered Martin, "that he likewise dislikes everything he possesses? It was an observation of Plato, long since, that those are not the best stomachs that reject, without distinction, all sorts of food."
"True," said Candide, "but still there must certainly be a pleasure in criticising everything, and in perceiving faults where others think they see beauties."
"That is," replied Martin, "there is a pleasure in having no pleasure."
"Master, we come to entreat you to tell us why so strange an animal as man has been formed?"
"Why do you trouble your head about it?" said the dervish; "is it any business of yours?"
"But, Reverend Father," said Candide, "there is a horrible deal of evil on the earth."
"What does it matter," said the dervish, "whether there is evil or good? When His Highness sends a ship to Egypt does he trouble his head whether the rats in the vessel are at their ease or not?"
"What must then be done?" said Pangloss.
"Be silent," answered the dervish.
"I have no more than twenty acres of ground," he replied, "the whole of which I cultivate myself with the help of my children; and our labor keeps off from us three great evils— idleness, vice, and want."