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by Voltaire

Analysis: Writing Style


The simplistic style of Candide highlights the absurdity and drama of the novel’s plot and characters. This isn’t about fancy prose. In fact, it's very straightforward:

Cacambo humbly asked, "What was the religion in El Dorado?"

The old man reddened again.

"Can there be two religions?" said he. "We have, I believe, the religion of all the world: we worship God night and morning."

"Do you worship but one God?" said Cacambo, who still acted as interpreter in representing Candide's doubts.

"Surely," said the old man, "there are not two, nor three, nor four. I must confess the people from your side of the world ask very extraordinary questions." (18.11-15)

Voltaire even uses one character—the Scholar—to underline the point that clean, no-nonsense statements are better than wordy, Pangloss-style ones. (See our "Characters" section for more on that.)

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