What Is Candide about?

The novella is about a naïve young man who wanders the world. He starts off believing that he lives on the best of the planets. But everything he sees and everyone he meets tells a story of poverty, hardships, and abuse. In the end, he settles on a farm and dedicates himself to hard work, as it is the only method to make life tolerable.

More Information

Candide is a kind and sincere person who fell in love with Baron’s daughter. The castle owner got angry with him and sent him to exile. The protagonist is forced to join the Bulgarian army. He manages to escape to Holland, where he meets his teacher, Pangloss. Candide learns that the Baron’s family has been killed, and Pangloss is dying of syphilis. 

They go to Portugal, where the Inquisition wants to burn Pangloss alive. Candid is whipped and left to die. An old lady takes care of him and brings him to Cunégonde, his beloved one. Candide kills a Jew and the Grand Inquisitor who held Cunégonde as their concubine.

They escape to Buenos Aires, where the governor proposes to Cunégonde, and she accepts in fear for Candide’s life.  

The protagonist goes astray and ends up in El Dorado, a fictional land where gold was endless. Candide leaves the wonderful kingdom with an enormous treasure but loses almost all of it on the way.   

He travels through England, France, and Italy and ends up in Turkey. There he unites with Cunégonde, who is no longer a beautiful girl but an ugly scold. Candide buys a farm. There, all the heroes change their outlook on life over time.

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