We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
GO TO SAT PREP GO TO ACT PREP

Candide Themes

Candide Themes

Love

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...

Religion

Religion is one of the central targets of Voltaire’s mockery. Outside of the fantasy world of El Dorado, religion is consistently depicted as corrupting and morally bankrupt. Religious figures in...

Society and Class

Power and status derived from lineage are portrayed as corrupting and ultimately meaningless in Candide. Individuals in positions of authority frequently abuse their power through the possession an...

Philosophical Viewpoints

Candide is full of philosophers and philosophizing, which only worsens the suffering of the characters. Dr. Pangloss’s endless philosophizing frequently distracts him and Candide from engaging in...

Mortality

Death and near-death experiences are pervasive in Candide. However, for nearly every death, there is also a resurrection. Like almost everything else in Candide, Voltaire parodies death by frequent...

Warfare

Candide portrays war as futile and wasteful both in terms of material and human sacrifice. Disgusted by the army and his own mistreatment, the protagonist escapes after he is conscripted by the arm...

Suffering

The absolutist Optimism of Dr. Pangloss is frequently revealed to be irrational and unfounded in reality. Candide offers one example after another of pain, loss, misfortune, and suffering meant to...

Principles

Principle and virtue fare better than most ideals in Candide and are mostly able to survive Voltaire’s scathing satire. Where religion and philosophy fail to unite people, principles of charity,...

Sex

Sex, like many other topics, is subject to Voltaire’s satirical assault in Candide. Sex is never mentioned positively; rather, sexual exploitation and violence are widespread. Voltaire seems to m...

Wealth

The rapid changes in fortune through carelessness and robbery seen throughout Candide mock greed and the acquisition of wealth. Wealth is portrayed as transient and, though beneficial, not ultimate...

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement