troperville

tools

toys

Wiki Headlines
It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Literature: Candide
The Baron, seeing this cause and this effect, threw Candide out of the castle with many a kick to the rear.

O che sciagὺra d'essere scenza coglioni!

Perhaps the most famous work of Voltaire, Candide is a biting satire of the then-popular view that we live in the best of all possible worlds. So you can guess what happens from that.

Candide is the story of Candide, the (possible) bastard nephew of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh, and his attempts to marry Cunégonde, the baron's daughter. After attempting to "explore cause and effect" with her, the Baron kicks Candide out of his castle. What follows could only be explained by the fact that Voltaire had an interesting sense of humor and a rather strong philosophical disagreement with one Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz.

After being drafted into the Bulgar army based solely on his height, Candide meets his philosophy professor Dr. Pangloss, who has been stricken with syphilis that he got from a woman working for the Baron note , is shipwrecked at Lisbon, kills two priests and a Jew, meets a woman who is missing half a buttock due to cannibalism, goes to the legendary city El Dorado where gold is the same as dirt, meets someone who assures Candide that the chief occupations of every city, in order of importance, are "love-making, malicious gossip and talking nonsense," goes to Constantinople, and gardens. Along the way he meets many other figures from his previous life, including Cunégonde, who have all gotten into increasingly ridiculous predicaments and escaped them anyway, to join forces with him later.

For those who don't speak Italian, the above quote means "Oh, what a misfortune to be without testicles!" And yes, it is in the book, though the last word may or may not be censored into a single 'C' and ellipsis.

This novel provides examples of:

  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: An operetta by Leonard Bernstein. It's Lighter and Softer.
  • Answering Echo: In the Bernstein operetta, the Inquisition delivers its judgments this way.
    Three Inquisitors: Are our methods legal or illegal?
    Basses: Legal!
    Three Inquisitors: Are we judges of the law, or laymen?
    Basses: Amen.
    Three Inquisitors: Shall we hang them or forget them?
    Basses: Get them!
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted with Cunegonde and the Old Woman.
  • Black Comedy/Kafka Komedy
  • Break the Cutie: Happens for several characters:
    • Candide is chased from the castle where he lived his entire live before that, sees several people die and observes the misery in the world.
  • Bury Your Gays: The Baron's son is heavily implied to be gay, and he's the only one of the recurring characters who at the end is shipped off to be a Galley Slave.
  • Call to Agriculture: In the end, Candide and his friends retire to sustenance living; the moral of the book is basically Candide's last line, "We must cultivate our garden". The operetta ends with the gorgeous choral number "Make Our Garden Grow".
  • Casting Couch: Heavily implied in having helped Cunegonde's brother to progress in the Jesuit order.
  • City of Gold: El Dorado.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Parodied; characters frequently run into people they've met before in other parts of the world.
  • Crapsack World: Though the story's point is "It's not the best of all possible worlds, but at least it's not the worst."
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The Old Woman has this: Made a Slave and raped by pirates, lost her mother, ended in several harems, contracted the plague, had her left buttock eaten by starved janissaries, captured by the Russians and, finally, ended working for don Issachar. It doesn't help that she's the illegit daughter of Pope Urban X.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Don Fernando de Ibaraa, y Figueora, y Mascarenes, y Lampurdos, y Suza, who is described as carrying his nose so high, raising his voice mercilessly, and so on, that everyone who greeted him was tempted to hit him. In the next paragraph, he is also described as stroking his mustache and smiling malevolently.
  • Dirty Old Monk: Brother Giroflée go to the Red Light District.
  • The Ditz: Candide himself.
  • Everybody Calls Him Barkeep: The Old Woman is only referred as such.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Dumb Is Good: Candide is a generally good person, if a bit naive.
  • Gallows Humor: Pangloss gets syphilis. It's Played for Laughs. In Bernstein's operetta he gets a whole song about it.
  • Hands Off My Fluffy: The heroes rescue some women running from apes and it turns out the apes were their husbands.
  • Hidden Elf Village: El Dorado.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: The Old Woman.
  • Literal Asskicking: The way Candide is kicked out of the castle.
  • Living MacGuffin: Cunegonde.
  • Made a Slave: Happens with the Old Woman,Cunegonde and her brother.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: The janissaries besieged by the Russians in Azow eat their servents and the Old Woman's left buttock to keep their promise to hold to the last.
  • Opposed Mentors: A classic example in which the title character falls under the influence of Pangloss and Martin, who are at opposite ends of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Pangloss.
  • Meaningful Name: Several. Candide is one letter away from "candid", Pangloss means "all tongue" in Greek, and Pococurante is Italian for "caring little."
  • The Philosopher: Pangloss and Martin.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Candide.
  • The Pollyanna: Candide is perhaps the early prototype. In spite of constant tragedy, he does his best to maintain Pangloss' philosophy of "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds". He does find himself wavering to maintain this over time, and in the end abandons it completely. "Pangloss" is actually a synonym for "Pollyanna" in most thesauruses.
  • Rape as Backstory: Cunegonde and the Old Woman has this.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The castle where Candide lived is subjected to this.
  • Refuge in Audacity: To put it simply, Voltaire probably wrote one of the most epic Crack Fics even before the name was coined!
  • Refuge in Vulgarity
  • Rousseau Was Right: Deconstructed with extreme prejudice.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Despite what Pangloss says, this story abides in Cynicism. Martin happily occupies the cynicism end. The Musical, slightly less so.
  • The Spanish Inquisition: Candide and Pangloss fall into the hands of the Inquisition when Pangloss' optimistic philosophy brands them as heretics. They are tortured, Pangloss is hanged, and Candide learns that the Grand Inquisitor is corrupt as all get-out, and joined a corrupt merchant in horribly mistreating Cunegonde.
  • Straw Critic: The politician who is so well-read that he is incapable of enjoying anything.
  • Strawman Political: Pangloss, duh.
  • Take That: Pangloss is an obvious parody of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (yes, that Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz). The phrase "the best of all possible worlds" is lifted directly from his work.
    • By chronological proximity it is also aimed at Leibniz's student Christian Wolff, who was massively popular in Europe for a long time for writing books on The Theme Park Version of Leibniz's rather abstract philosophy.
    • The whole work is a massive Take That to Rousseau himself, with whom Voltaire was on bad terms at the time.
    • There are several petty shots at Voltaire's personal enemies throughout the book.
    • Bertrand Russell notes in "A History of Western Philosophy" that Leibniz' published, optimistic philosophy was intended as pandering to attract noble and rich patrons (with great success); his sincere and less-optimistic philosophy remaining hidden in a drawer until after his death.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Occurs frequently to major characters, Played for Laughs.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Cunegonde's brother still refuses to let Candide marry his sister after being freed by him from slavery. The Bury Your Gays example above is well deserved.
  • War Is Hell: The narrator desbribe sarcastically a battle between the Bulgarians and the Abarians and deconstructs War Is Glorious.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: The central theme.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: The children of El Dorado play with gemstones; they're common there and have no other use. A classic example.

The Canterbury TalesPublic Domain StoriesCrime and Punishment
Caleb WilliamsClassic LiteratureThe Canterbury Tales
The 120 Days of SodomUsefulNotes/FranceDangerous Liaisons
La BrècheFrench LiteratureThe Charterhouse of Parma

alternative title(s): Candide; Candide
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
24596
33