Study Guide

Cacambo in Candide

By Voltaire


Livin' In The Moment

Cacambo, Candide’s loyal servant, is quick-thinking, restless, and thirsty for adventure. Unlike many of the other main characters, Cacambo has no interest in philosophy. It is precisely because he is not concerned with metaphysics, as the other characters are, that he is able to focus and engage fully and thoughtfully with others:

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)

While he is determined and self-reliant, he also conveys a sense of being carefree. Cacambo is the most believable and balanced of any character in Candide, and his rationality and wit, together with the Old Woman’s resilience, suggest that genuine humanity does exist.