When I first started Candide, I was expecting it to be a lighthearted tale. However, it managed to captivate me and made me genuinely laugh –with its witty satirical comments– and think deeply with countless philosophical themes simultaneously. The main piece of the story that lead to giving me this impression were the characters and how they all viewed the world differently. It seemed that although many people were introduced, they each had very specific and contrasting beliefs.
Just from looking at the main characters we of course have the two philosophers Martin and Pangloss, Martin having no expectations on the world as he does not believe anything good will come of it and then Pangloss, believing that our world is the “best of all worlds”. There is also Turkish philosopher who believes neither and instead says it is fruitless to think of why we deserve what happens to us because we are insignificant. The Baron deviates from philosophy and more so represents being naïve and self riotous. this can be seen at its peak with his attitude towards Candide and Cunégonde’s relationship. We have characters like the pirates or the Bulgarians, who have no respect or humanity for women as they use them for their sexual desires, and we have the cannibal people of the Americas who turned out to be not all that bad as long as you didn’t oppose them.
Each of these characters poses a question as stories and characters in stories naturally do. From how should I treat another human? to to what extent are we significant in this world? and if you hadn’t have started thinking about any of these themes by the second page, Candide had for you. It is clear to me why Candide is the protagonist. He takes the noise from all of these characters shouting their different ideas and making the whole thing a mess and after many attempts to try to understand it all, realizes it is a much better use of time to sit back and, well, Cultivate his garden. In a way, throwing the whole thing away and leaving me with the lighthearted tale I expected.