Candide- Candide is Voltaire's
optimistic (sometimes naively so) protagonist throughout the work. The reader follows Candide
from the Castle of Westphalia in the beginning, to South America and Europe, and finally leaving him
to tend his garden in Constantinople. Though throughout the novel Candide tries valiantly to hold
onto the teaching of his tutor, Pangloss, who subscribes to the philosophy that maintains that all things
are for the best, his experience continues to show him otherwise. In the end, he realizes that
man's role on earth is simply to cultivate his little garden, working the land with his hands, not thinking
too deeply about metaphysics.
Pangloss- Pangloss is Candide's tutor and propagandist of optimism who appears and reappears
throughout the story. Though he outwardly supports optimistic determinism throughout the tale,
by the end, Voltaire admits that he doesn't really believe the theory of Leibniz. Like Candide,
his personal experiences of misery (catching a sexually transmitted disease, barely escaping hanging,
being put into captivity) incline him to quietly abandon his belief.
Cunï¿½gonde- Cunï¿½gonde is referred to throughout Candidemore than she actually appears.
She, like Candide and Pangloss, is also inclined to believe in optimism, though her personal belief
in the philosophy is not stressed. Cunï¿½gonde is the love of Candide's life, and the constant focus of
his attention. She is raped and tortured on several occasions, leading her also finally to reject
- The baron of the Castle of Westphalia, who also becomes associated with his son, Cunï¿½gonde's brother,
near the end of the book, is Voltaire's symbol for Frederick the Great, a man of whom Voltaire was not
- Jacques is the "charitable anabaptist" who bends over backwards to help Candide and Pangloss when
they need his aid. Unfortunately (and irrationally), Jacques is tossed overboard by a wicked man
during a storm at sea.
Don Issachar- Don Issachar, the wealthy Jewish businessman, is the scapegoat for much
of Voltaire's anti-Semitism throughout Candide. He "shares" Cunï¿½gonde with the Grand Inquisitor
for part of the book, and is depicted as a cruel, greedy and wretched man, hoping to buy himself earthly
happiness. When Issachar returns unexpectedly one night, Candide is forced to kill him.
This Churchman is equally satirized by Voltaire's clever pen. When the Inquisitor sees Cunï¿½gonde
at Mass, he immediately threatens Issachar, forcing him to turn over his house and Cunï¿½gonde, his sex-slave,
one-half of the week. When the Inquisitor arrives shortly after Issachar, Candide runs him through
with his sword as well.
Cacambo- Cacambo, who travels with Candide in the middle chapters of Candide and is reunited
with him near the end, is really the first friend of the young philosopher. Voltaire uses Cacambo
to paint a satirical portrait of the Jesuits in Paraguay.
Martin- Martin, an "old scholar," is drafted by Candide towards the conclusion of his adventures,
in order to be his companion after the departure of Cacambo. Martin most clearly represents Voltaire's
personal sentiments, not buying Pangloss' theory in any way, shape or form.