Candide’s love for Cunégonde is the driving force of his journey in the novel. The absurd lengths to which Candide goes to pursue his love, including abandoning the paradise of El Dorado, committing multiple murders, and barely avoiding capture and execution, are mocked by the reality that once Candide can marry Cunégonde, he’s no longer attracted to her. No real romantic love seems to exist in Candide.
Questions About Love
- What kinds of love are present in Candide?
- How does Candice’s love for Cunégonde affect his behavior? Are the effects largely positive or negative?
- What is Voltaire’s message about romantic love?
- What do you think of the passage in which the Old Woman professes her love of life? Do other characters share her perspective? If so, who?
Chew on This
Candide’s fixation on his own mental ideal of Cunégonde is a parallel to his desire to ignore reality while focusing on an idealized version of the world.