Study Guide

Candide Principles

By Voltaire


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, honesty, and loyalty are consistently honored (at least by some of the characters). The role of virtue for women is kept to traditional gender roles, and has much to do with faithfulness and honor.

Questions About Principles

  1. What does it mean to behave virtuously in Candide? Are the definitions of virtue different for men and women? If so, how?
  2. Which characters in Candide behave virtuously? Which do not? Is there any logic in this?
  3. How are virtue and philosophy related or unrelated in Candide? Do they complement each another? Do they conflict?

Chew on This

Candide’s constant philosophizing allows him to maintain his principles and exercise his virtue in a world of evil and suffering.

Cacambo is the only character in Candide with principles.