Candide Questions and Answers
by Voltaire

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What is the central message Voltaire is conveying in Candide?

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At first, Candide appears to be purely a satire on optimism, in particular the philosophy of Leibniz, which is expressed by Pangloss in the famous formula: "All is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds." Optimism is certainly the primary target, and is made to appear increasingly absurd as a terrible series of misfortunes overtake Candide, Cun├ęgonde, Paquette and Pangloss himself. However, Voltaire's attack on optimism is not an advocacy of pessimism or nihilism. These attitudes are attacked principally in the figure of the Venetian senator, Pococurante. Pococurante's experience of life is the exact reverse of Candide's or Pangloss's. He lives in the midst of wealth and luxury, with a magnificent art collection and a splendid library. However, he fails to appreciate any of this, regarding his life and everything it offers him with boredom and disdain.

At the end of the book, Candide says that we must cultivate our garden. It is this piece of wisdom that Pococurante fails to...

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