ENGL 2210 World Literature II

Candide: Study Guide

    Chapter 1
  1. Find a good definition of "satire"; include several examples.
  2. What are some satirical techniques used in describing the characters in this chapter?
  3. The French word "candide" implies innocence, naivete, and purity. What do you find that is characteristic in people of this kind?
  4. How is the humor achieved in the description of the characters? How do they get their names?
  5. What is philosophical optimism?
  6. Comment on Pangloss' logic of cause and effect. Provide specific examples.
  7. How is the sexual encounter between Pangloss and the maid described from the perspective of Cunegonde?
  8. Make a list of things that are being satirized in this chapter.
  9. As you read Candide, try to keep in mind the contrast between the philosophical ideals of what the characters say and the reality of what they do, or what is happening around them. This contrast is one of the sources of humor in Candide.
    Chapter 2
  1. How is this chapter a satire of military recruiting and training tactics?
  2. How do the two men "recruit" Candide? What similar tactics might militaries use now to recruit young men? Read an article by an ex-marine on Deceptions on Military Recruiting.
  3. Which aspects of army life are satirized in this chapter?
  4. Find examples of how humor is achieved through exaggeration.
  5. The author seems to equate military training with torture. Is that a fair comparison?
  6. What are some of the references to the Prussian army of Frederick the Great?
  7. Candide's gullibility - result of Pangloss's teachings. Another example of the contrast between the philosophy of optimism and reality.
  8. The theme of "free will". What does it mean to have free will? Can one be in the military and still have a free will?
    Chapter 3
  1. Theme of war and evil. Cruelty and savagery of war. What is unusual in the description of the battle in the first paragraph?
  2. Theme of religion.
  3. Describe the ironic mood in the description of the battle scenes and the celebrations afterwards. Who are the "good" guys and who are the "bad" guys in the war between the Bulgars and the Abares?
  4. What is the difference between heroism and butchery in time of war? What effect does the term "heroic butchery" have in the description of the battle? Compare this to the view of an ex-marine regarding cruelty in war.
  5. What are some of the outcomes of the "heroism" of the Bulgars and the Abares?
  6. Describe what Candide sees in the Abare village. Is this heroism or butchery? Why?
  7. Satire of religious hypocrisy and intolerance. Comment on the religious hypocrisy of the orator.
  8. Who were the Anabaptists?
    Chapter 4
  1. Describe the meeting with Pangloss. What news of Cunegonde and her family does Pangloss bring?
  2. Comment on the concept of "satisfaction of revenge" as a military tactic. Is this something that is practiced by militaries today?
  3. Contrast Pangloss's philosophical optimism and the reality of what happens to him and Ms. Cunegonde.
  4. Parody of Pangloss's philosophical reasoning. Comment on the "cause and effect" in relation to love as it applies to Candide and Pangloss.
  5. Source of humor: clash between the real and the ideal.
  6. What do you think is the point in tracing the origin of Pangloss's disease? What conclusion do you reach looking at the sequence of individuals who pass the disease from one to another?
  7. What do you think of Pangloss's logic in how he justifies the disease?
    Chapter 5
  1. How does the sailor behave during the shipwreck and the earthquake?
  2. Lisbon earthquake. Evil as a force of nature.
  3. What are the justifications for natural disasters? Divine retribution?
  4. How does Pangloss justify the earthquake?
  5. What is the encounter between the officer of the Inquisition and Pangloss all about? What is their debate about? Issues of fanaticism and intolerance are raised.
    Chapter 6
  1. The Inquisition: fanaticism and intolerance. How do the learned men of Lisbon react to the earthquake? Read Voltaire's view on tolerance and superstition.
  2. Who are the heretics and what are their crimes?
  3. What does it mean to be a heretic?
  4. Who defines a heretic? Can you name any famous heretics?
  5. How do you think society should deal with heretics in general?
  6. Do you think heretics might have a beneficial role in society? What might it be?
  7. Candid begins to question Pangloss's philosophy. What does he find wrong with optimist philosophy?
  8. What is Voltaire's quarrel with religion in this chapter?
  9. How was the Inquisition a result of intolerance. Can you
  10. Can you provide any examples of religious intolerance among any contemporary religious communities?
    Chapter 7
  1. What religious belief is being satirized in the second paragraph of this chapter?
  2. How is this chapter a parody of the romantic adventure story? Provide several examples.
  3. At the end of this chapter we note that Candide gazed at Cunegonde "with hungry eyes". Does this seem to indicate that his attitude toward her has changed?
    Chapter 8
  1. What do you find strange in the way Cunegonde describes her treatment by the Bulgars?
  2. In this chapter Cunegonde narrates her experiences of love, rape, and sexual passion with men. Such instances will be repeated in later chapters. Read Voltaire's definition of love from his Philosophical Dictionary.
  3. Role of the Grand Inquisitor.
  4. What is the arrangement between the Grand Inquisitor and Don Issachar?
  5. What is unusual in Cunegonde's description of the auto-da-fe? What is her attitude toward it?
  6. List the references that are made to Pangloss. How does the reality of the situation compare to Pangloss's philosophy?
  7. How different do you think Candide and Cunegonde are in perceiving the reality of the world? Provide some examples.
    Chapter 9
  1. This chapter continues satirizing religious authority.
  2. This chapter is a continuation of the parody of the adventure story. Provide several examples.
  3. What is the source of the humor in this chapter? Provide several examples.
  4. Cunegonde is surprised that Candide can kill two people so easily. What's Candide's reply?
    Chapter 10
  1. More commentary on religious hypocrisy, corruption, worldliness and materialism; not limited to the Catholics.
  2. Who were/are the Franciscans, Benedictines, and the Jesuits? Do they practice what they preach?
  3. Why is there an army being assembled in Cadiz?
  4. How does Candide's attitude toward philosophical optimism begin to change?
  5. The idea that the New World is perhaps the best of all possible worlds is introduced in this chapter.
  6. Theme of human misery and self pity.
    Chapter 11
  1. What is the background of the old woman? How has she changed in her looks?
  2. How is the melodrama in her story heightened?
  3. Do you find any similarities in the way that the old woman and Cunegonde describe their experiences?
  4. List some examples of satire of religious authorities.
  5. This chapter focuses on the idea that cruelty by toward women is universal and not unusual. List some examples of how Voltaire represents this cruelty in a satirical way.
  6. Religious satire is expanded to includes Islam. Implication: no religion can restrain man's wickedness. Do you agree or disagree: Can religion restrain man's wickedness?
    Chapter 12
  1. Comment on the element of sexuality in the old woman's story. Is there place for love and romance in that world, or is there nothing beyond self-gratification?
  2. What do you think is the point of the story of the eunuch? What does he regret?
  3. Describe the sarcasm in the old woman's description of how she lost half her buttocks.
  4. Though all her misery, the old woman does not consider suicide as an option. She is not alone in her fate. Does this indicate that the lot of some folks is to live in misery their entire life? Does man have control of his destiny?
    Chapter 13
  1. After hearing the passengers tell their stories, Candide begins to doubt Pangloss's optimism. Why?
  2. This chapter takes the characters to the New World, which for many Europeans represented the possibility of the existence of a perfect society. Are things really that different there than in the Old World?
  3. Describe the personality of the governor of Buenos Aires. Does he remind you of any other characters? How does his name indicate his importance?
  4. Can you think of example of how in contemporary society we form attitudes toward people based on their name?
  5. What's Cunegonde's reaction to the governor's proposal? What does it say about her feelings for Candide?
  6. What advice does the old woman give her? What does her advice indicate about her attitude toward marriage?
  7. Why does Candide have to skip town?
    Chapter 14
  1. What is Cacambo's role? Compare him to Pangloss.
  2. How are the Los Padres, Jesuits fathers, portrayed in this chapter? How is their role in the New World different from the Old World
  3. In this chapter Voltaire seems to indicate that there is really no distinction between civil authority and religious authority, and between a soldier and a Christian. This begs the question: Can a true Christian, especially one in authority, be a soldier?
    Chapter 15
  1. Describe the meeting between Candide and the young baron.
  2. How did the young baron get to be in such an important position?
  3. What is the role of the Jesuits in Paraguay?
  4. Note the contradictions between war and religion, priests and soldiers. The young baron was a sub deacon and a lieutenant, and now he is a colonel and a priest.
  5. Why is the young baron opposed to Candide's marrying his sister?
    Chapter 16
  1. The land of the Biglugs - satirical portrayal of the "Noble Savage". Primitive society had frequently been idealized by Europeans . It was purer, simpler, and free of the moral corruption and hypocrisy of the modern world. How is Voltaire's portrayal of the Biglugs?
  2. Are there any differences between primitive and modern societies?
    Chapter 17
  1. This chapter is the turning point in Candide's rejection of optimism. Europe is not the best of all possible worlds. After this visit, Candide will frequently compare the rest of the world with Eldorado.
  2. Other than the gold and jewels, what other aspect of Eldorado (nature, people) do you find to be unique?
  3. How are the people that Candide meets in Eldorado different from those in the rest of the world?
  4. What do you know about the actual myth of Eldorado? What is it supposed to represent?
    Chapter 18
  1. What attitude do the people in Eldorado have toward their gold and precious stones?
  2. Why do you think these same items have such high value in the real world?
  3. What is unique in the way that the society of El dorado functions?
  4. What can you say about their religion?
  5. What is their attitude toward prayer? Why do they not find it necessary? Why do you think contemporary religious find prayer necessary?
  6. Why do they not have priests and religious orders? Why do you think contemporary religions find these necessary?
  7. How is the society governed? What kind of legal system do they have?
  8. Ideal society and religion is one which abandons all power. Why do you think the abandonment of power in religion is not possible in the real world? Or is it?
  9. The religion attributed to Eldorado is actually a type of Deism. What is Deism?
  10. Why do you think Candide and Cacambo leave, or have to leave El dorado?
  11. What is your idea of the ideal state? Would you choose to live in a place like Eldorado? Is there anything wrong with a place like Eldorado?
  12. Is the desire to be better more natural to man then the desire to be equal, even if the equality exists in pleasant circumstances?
  13. Eldorado represents an utopian state. Do you think that utopias are desirable? If you believe they are undesirable, than why do you think that people of many religions strive to spend eternity in a place that is the ultimate utopia?
  14. A practical lesson that one can learn from Eldorado is that one does not need to measure one's happiness against someone else's misery.
    Chapter 19
  1. What is the relevance of the story of the slave? How did he end up a slave?
  2. Candide denounces optimism. What's his definition of optimism now? What is the cause of this change?
  3. In this chapter we also encounter satire of the legal system. How does the legal system in Surinam work?
  4. How does Candide go about selecting his new companion? What do you think of his conditions? Do you believe that miserable people make more interesting travel companions?
  5. How is Martin different from Pangloss and Cacambo?
  6. Why was Martin persecuted? This is yet another example of the intolerance and religious hatred that Voltaire fought against.
    Chapter 20
  1. What are Martin's religious beliefs? How do they compare to the established religion of the time?
  2. What is Manichaeism?
  3. Martin believes that God has abandoned the world to some evil spirit. How does he come to this conclusion? Do you think he has a point?
  4. How is Martin's philosophy different from Pangloss's? With whom do you think Voltaire would agree?
    Chapter 21
  1. What does Martin think of the French. List some specific examples. This reflects Voltaire's own opinion of French society.
  2. What does Martin think of Paris and Parisians? List some specific examples.
  3. Candide asks Martin if he believes that men have always been liars, etc., that is, is this man's true nature. How does Martin reply? What is your opinion?
  4. Candid suggests that perhaps man has free will and is capable of selecting his nature. What is your opinion regarding this?
  5. What similarities can you find between Martin and Cacambo? What are their differences?
    Chapter 22
  1. Many references in this chapter can be related to Voltaire's own life. What is important for you to understand is the general quality of his description of Paris, the main thrust of his satire. The details are interesting but not essential to your understanding of the work as a whole.
  2. How is Candide treated by the people in Paris? What is the characteristic of Parisian society?
  3. What does Candide think of French doctors?
  4. List several examples of how people are trying to take advantage of Candide.
  5. What does Candide think of the hospitality of Parisians?
  6. How are Parisian salons, where literatures is discussed, satirized?
  7. What is the point of the card game?
  8. How is Candide seduced? Do you think he is a victim.
  9. How does the abbe of Perigord trick Candide?
    Chapter 23
  1. What does Martin think of the French? What are the French and English fighting over?
  2. How is the theme of war developed in this chapter? Why was the admiral executed? What is the justification for his execution?
  3. What is your opinion of the"refusal to engage the enemy" charge in military law?
  4. This is another example of the absurdity of the rules of war. Can you think of any other examples of the absurdity of rules of war in contemporary military affairs?
    Chapter 24
  1. In this chapter Candide seems to lose all hope that he will be reunited with Cunegonde. What's Martin's opinion on this?
  2. What has happened to Paquette since Candide saw her last?
  3. Compare her story to the story of the old woman. How does she manage to survive?
  4. What is the story of the monk? Why is he unhappy?
  5. Are Paquette and brother Giroflee bad people or victims? Why?
  6. Do you think there is any happiness in their lives?
  7. Give some examples of Martin's pessimism in this chapter.
    Chapter 25
  1. This is Candide's exposure to the topic of great literature and the arts. Here Voltaire voices his own opinions about literature and the arts.
  2. What do you think is Martin's opinion of Pococurante (name means "caring little")?
  3. How does Pococurante's name fit his character?
  4. What is Martin's opinion of Pococurante?
  5. What is your opinion of the concept of great men, artists, books, politicians, etc.? Why do you think such people are considered great?
  6. Pococurante represents the idea of the importance of independent judgment. How independent do you think we are in our tastes?
  7. Is Pococurante happy or unhappy? Why?
    Chapter 26
  1. What does Candide learn from Cacambo about Cunegonde?
  2. What is the meaning of the encounter with the six dethroned kings, who are real historical figures? What role does Providence play in their fate?
  3. Do you feel any sympathy toward them, or do you think they got what they deserved?
    Chapter 27
  1. Where is Constantinople? How did Candid and martin get there?
  2. What is the first thing that Candide wants to know from Cacambo about his Cunegonde? What does he learn about her? What is his attitude about it?
  3. This chapter also focuses on the role that beauty plays in relationships. In one place Candide says that he is bound by duty to love Candide, and in another place he says that it is a pity that she has become so ugly. Is it possible to love someone who is ugly?
  4. Reassembling of the major characters. Have the young baron and Pangloss changed any after so many horrible experiences?
    Chapter 28
  1. How did the young baron end up in Constantinople? How did he end up a slave on a ship?
  2. How did Pangloss manage to survive the execution? How did he end up a slave?
  3. Why do you think Pangloss still clings to his belief in optimism?
    Chapter 29
  1. How does Candide react when he first sees Cunegonde? Do you think this is an expected reaction? What's Cunegonde's reaction?
  2. What's the baron's reaction to Candide's proposal to marry Cunegonde? What does it say about his character?
  3. What's Candide's reaction to the baron's refusal? Does this indicate any change in Candide's character?
    Chapter 30
  1. What is the advice of the group on what to do with the young baron? How does each one's suggestion reflect their character and philosophy? Why do you think this was, or was not, an appropriate decision?
  2. Where do the characters finally settle? What is life like for them now?
  3. The old woman suggests that "just sitting here and doing nothing" is perhaps worse than any other physical suffering. What is the opinion of the others regarding this? What is your opinion? What's so bad about being so content that you get bored and do absolutely nothing?
  4. Has Pangloss changed any? What is his attitude toward his philosophy now?
  5. What advice does the dervish give the group regarding life, why man was created, why is there evil in the world, what should man do, etc.? What do you think of this advice?
  6. What must man do, according to the old man, to keep from evil, boredom, vice, and poverty?
  7. What is the source of happiness, according to the old man?
  8. What does "cultivating his garden" imply when searching for happiness?
  9. Comment on Martin's suggestion: "Let's work without speculation. It's the only way of rendering life bearable."
  10. This chapter intends to provides an answer to the eternal question: How should one lead one's life? What is the answer, do you think?