Candide By Voltaire


Presented to


December 18, 2003


P. 5


Candide by Voltaire has been a very interesting read. This book tells of a man by the name of Candide and his great adventure in search for his love, Cunegonde. He goes all over the world to several different countries and struggles through them all. Fate carries him to his love and on the way he is bullied, beaten, and suffers greatly. According to a philosopher in the book by the name of Dr. Pangloss thinks that the world is not that bead and that there is always the best, which is very contrary to what they all go through. Candide expresses the real world and how a man suffers for his true love and is a novel based on several different conflicts with man versus several different subjects.


For example, the conflict man vs. nature plays a significant role in the novel Candide by Voltaire. “The sails were torn, the mass was broken, the hull was cracked open” (p. 28). Here Candide and he crew are heading towards the city of Libson when a great storm hits that takes out almost all of the men. The difficulties of his journeys begin. “They had scarcely set foot in the city, mourning the death of the benefactor, when they felt the earth tremble between them” (p. 29). This occurs upon the arrival in Libson after the storm. The troubles seem to continue. “It was not easy to get to Cayenne; they knew approximately what direction to take but there were tremendous obstacles everywhere: mountains, rivers, precipices, bandits, and savages” (p. 62). The way to Cayenne is dangerous yet they continue. On the way they stumble upon the Incan city of Eldorado and gain riches beyond their wildest dreams.


Another conflict in this novel is man vs. man as Candide confronts and kills several men. “Despite his gentle nature, he drew his sword and laid the Israelite on the floor, dead as a doornail” (p. 37). Candide is of gentle nature, yet when threatened he becomes violent maybe unintentionally. After this he and Cunegonde run away on horses. “Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh happened to pass by the screen; seeing this cause and effect, he drove Candide out of the castle with vigorous kicks in the backside” (p. 19). This is when Cunegonde and Candide are together behind the screen. This is also partially Cunegonde’s fault yet Candide takes all the blame. “Candide instantly drew his own sword and plunged it into the hilt of the Jesuit Baron’s belly; but he drew it and began to weep”(p. 57). Once again Candide unintentionally killed. This is his third kill and his luck is not going so well.


The final and most important and most commonly read is the man vs. society. “The regiment was composed of two thousand men, so his punishment was so far composed of four thousand strokes, which had laid bare every muscle and nerve from his neck to his backside”(p. 22). The regiment was the army, which Candide was taken to serve at. He escaped once but they caught him and punished him severely, which is what the quote says. “He did not dare say she was his wife, because in fact she was not; he did not dare say she was his sister, because she was not that either, and, although this little white lie was once quite fashionable among the ancients and can still be useful to the moderns, his soul was too true to betray the truth” (p. 50). There is really nothing that Candide can do here because if the captain wants her than he can take her. Candide cannot protest. “And where could I go? If I go back to my country, I’ll find the Bulgars and the Avars slaughtering everyone in sight; if I return to Portugal, I’ll be burned; if we stay her, we’re in constant danger of being put on a spit” (p. 62). This shows how much fate is dealing with Candide. No matter where he goes the troubles of his life will be waiting for him.


As one can see, Candide is a very entertaining book that tells us about a man’s and his troubles in his long search for his love.