Satirical stories always give a wide array of debatable questions. Candide by Voltaire is such a book. Although it was written in the middle of the 18th century, its issues are still relatable to modern people. The book depicts a long period of the characters’ life. It allows the author to trace the development of their traits and views.
Below you will find Candide essay topics, prompts, and questions. They are equally suitable for a written paper and in-class debates. We have provided some hints and reflections to inspire your thinking process. Custom Writing experts have also prepared a list of Candide essay examples for you to get inspired.
🏆 Candide Essay Topics
- Candide by Voltaire: what does the title mean?
- How is the issue of religion represented in Candide?
- Give the examples of situational irony in Candide.
- El Dorado and its role in Candide by Voltaire.
- In what way does Voltaire criticize Leibniz’s ideas in Candide?
- Candide and the context of Enlightenment.
- Pangloss: character analysis.
- What does the ending mean in Candide?
- Biblical allusions in Candide by Voltaire.
- Candide in popular culture.
💡 Candide Essay Prompts
- What is the meaning of war in Candide? The analysis essay should contain examples of war descriptions and their analysis. Why do both sides of a military conflict consider themselves the winners? What are the results of any war for Voltaire?
- Write an essay on the examples of moral truth in Candide. Is this philosophical category objective or subjective? What is moral truth for Voltaire? Which spheres of life are impacted by religious hypocrisy, and how does it reduce morality to personal preferences? In the introduction, describe the difference between moral relativism and absolutism.
- Is there evil in Pangloss’ philosophy? Based on Candide, the essay on optimism shall discover the false cause and effect relations the professor establishes. Does this view on life do any harm or help the characters?
- Analyze the difference between Candide and Pangloss. The essay shall reflect on the practical simplicity of the former and the helpless theorizing of the latter. Which of them becomes more successful in life? Why doesn’t Pangloss fulfill his dream to read lectures at a German university?
- Based on Candide, write a utopia essay. What are the similar features between El Dorado and the garden that the protagonist cultivates in the end? Why are greed and religious hypocrisy absent in both locations? Note that the legendary kingdom is a fictional utopia, while the garden is a realizable Eden on earth.
- What is Voltaire’s message in Candide? An essay on religion could discuss the author’s satire of the clergy, whose faith manifests only in their words, not actions. An essay on philosophical optimism could dwell upon the futile expectations for the situation to improve while doing nothing.
- Discuss Voltaire’s critique of ignorance. Look how subtle he is in this issue. Candide and Cunégonde start off being ignorant of life. It brings them to a series of misfortunes, until they become responsible and reasonable adults.
- Is poverty a sin in Candide? What is the author’s opinion about the poor and the wealthy? Are there certain traits of character typical of these two classes? Who suffers more, and who is happier?
- Explain the title choice for Voltaire’s book. Why does the author use the protagonist’s name and juxtaposes it to optimism? Under which circumstances could Candide never change his optimistic view on life? How does the second part of the book’s title focus the reader on what matters the most?
- Explore the relationship between Voltaire’s Candide and the Enlightenment. Why is Candide a typical character of the artistic period? Which ideas of the epoch does the author defend? Are there any views he contradicts or caricatures through exaggeration? Describe Voltaire’s opinion about human nature.