[[caption-width-right:290: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! ("O, what a misfortune to be without testicles!")

Perhaps the most famous work of Creator/{{Voltaire}}, ''Candide'' is a biting {{satire}} of the then-popular view that we live in the [[RousseauWasRight best of all]] [[CrapsaccharineWorld possible worlds]]. [[WideEyedIdealist So you can guess]] [[BreakTheCutie what happens from that]].

Candide is the story of [[CharacterTitle Candide]], the (possible) bastard nephew of [[AwesomeMcCoolname Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh]], and his attempts to marry Cunégonde, the baron's daughter. After attempting to [[IsThatWhatTheyreCallingItNow "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 [[UsefulNotes/{{Prussia}} 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]]that she got from a cavalry captain who got it from a marquise, who got it from a page, who got it from a Jesuit, who got it from a man who had gotten it directly from [[RefugeInAudacity Christopher Columbus]][[/note]], is shipwrecked at Lisbon, kills two priests and a Jew, meets a woman who is missing [[VulgarHumor half a buttock due to cannibalism]], goes to [[{{MarySuetopia}} the legendary city El Dorado]] where [[WorthlessYellowRocks 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 [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking gardens]]. Along the way he meets many other figures from his previous life, including Cunégonde, who have all gotten into [[RefugeInAudacity 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:
* AllMusicalsAreAdaptations: An operetta by Music/LeonardBernstein. It's LighterAndSofter.
* AnsweringEcho: 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!
* BlackComedy[=/=]KafkaKomedy: The whole story is the main characters suffering one cartoonishly horrible misfortune after another.
* BreakTheCutie: 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.
* CallToAgriculture: In the end, Candide and his friends retire to subsistence 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".
* CastingCouch: Heavily implied in having helped Cunegonde's brother to progress in the Jesuit order.
* CityOfGold: El Dorado.
* ContrivedCoincidence: {{Parodied}}; characters frequently run into people they've met before in other parts of the world.
* CrapsackWorld: Though the story's point is "It's not the best of all possible worlds, but at least it's not the ''worst''."
* DarkAndTroubledPast: The Old Woman was MadeASlave and [[RapeAsBackStory raped]] by pirates, lost her mother, [[SexSlave ended]] in several [[RoyalHarem harems]], contracted [[ThePlague 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 daughter of [[UsefulNotes/ThePope Pope Urban X]] by an Italian princess.
* DastardlyWhiplash: [[OverlyLongName 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 [[BadassMustache stroking his mustache]] and smiling malevolently.
* DirtyOldMonk: Brother Giroflée goes to the RedLightDistrict.
* DistractedByTheLuxury: Cunegonde in Paris.
* TheDitz: Candide himself.
* DumbIsGood: Candide is a generally good person, if a bit naive.
* EverybodyCallsHimBarkeep: The Old Woman is only referred as such.
* GallowsHumor: Pangloss gets syphilis. It's PlayedForLaughs. In Bernstein's operetta he gets a whole song about it.
* HandsOffMyFluffy: The heroes rescue some women running from apes and it turns out the apes were their husbands.
* HaveAGayOldTime: "Glitter and be Gay" from the musical version.
* HiddenElfVillage: El Dorado.
* IWasQuiteALooker: The Old Woman.
* LiteralAsskicking: The way Candide is kicked out of the castle.
* LivingMacGuffin: Cunegonde.
* MadeASlave: Happens with the Old Woman, [[spoiler:Cunegonde and her brother]].
* MoodWhiplash: One chapter ends with a tearful reunion between Candide and the baron's son, thought to be dead. The headline for the very next chapter then reads: "How Candide killed the baron's son."
* TheManTheyCouldntHang: Pangloss survives hanging because, he surmises, the Inquisitor lacked experience as a hangman.[[note]]The Inquisitor's standard procedure was to burn heretics, but he tried to hang Pangloss instead because the weather was inclement.[[/note]]
* MeaningfulName: Several. Candide is one letter away from "candid", Pangloss means "all tongue" in Greek, and Pococurante is Italian for "caring little."
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Pangloss is a rather biting parody of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottfried_Wilhelm_Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz]].
* NoChallengeEqualsNoSatisfaction: The old lady questions whether being stuck on a farm with nothing to do is actually worse than the various comically over the top ordeals they've gone through.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: Jacques tries to save a sailor from drowning, only to fall overboard himself and drown. The sailor walks off without so much as a "thank you."
* NoPartyLikeADonnerParty: The janissaries besieged by the Russians in Azow eat their servants and the Old Woman's left buttock to keep their promise to [[LastStand hold to the last]].
* OpposedMentors: A classic example in which the title character falls under the influence of Pangloss and Martin, who are at opposite ends of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism.
* ThePhilosopher: Pangloss and Martin.
* PinballProtagonist: Candide.
* ThePollyanna: 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. Pangloss himself says by the end of the book that he (unsurprisingly) no longer believes this, but it would be improper for a philosopher to [[AesopAmnesia change his opinion]].
* RapeAsBackstory: Cunegonde and the Old Woman have this.
* RapePillageAndBurn: The castle where Candide lived is sacked in the course of war. Cunegonde is raped during this event, and is believed for a time to have been killed.
* RefugeInAudacity: To put it simply, Voltaire probably wrote one of the most epic {{Crack Fic}}s even before the name was coined!
* RefugeInVulgarity: With the amount of gore, sexual impropreity, and scatological comedy in the work, one gets the impression that Voltaire was intentionally trying to scandalize his audience. Which he most likely was.
* RousseauWasRight: {{Inverted}} with extreme prejudice.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Despite what Pangloss says, this story abides in cynicism. Martin happily occupies the cynicism end. The Musical, slightly less so.
* UsefulNotes/TheSpanishInquisition: 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.
* StrawCritic: The politician who is so well-read that he is incapable of enjoying anything.
* StrawmanPolitical: Pangloss, duh.
* TakeThat: [[ThePhilosopher Pangloss]] is an obvious parody of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (yes, ''[[ViewersAreGeniuses 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 TheThemeParkVersion of Leibniz's rather abstract philosophy.
** The whole work is a massive Take That to [[RousseauWasRight 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's 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.
* TraumaCongaLine: All the main characters go through this.
* UnexplainedRecovery: Occurs frequently to major characters, PlayedForLaughs.
* UngratefulBastard: Cunegonde's brother still refuses to let Candide marry his sister after being freed from slavery by him.
* WarIsHell: The narrator describes [[SarcasmMode sarcastically]] a battle between the Bulgarians and the Abarians and deconstructs WarIsGlorious, noting how both [[NotSoDifferent commit atrocities]], while only speaking about those of the other side.
* WhamLine: Chapter 7 revealing that Cunegonde is still alive.
* WideEyedIdealist: The central theme, which is brutally demolished over the course of the book.
* WorthlessYellowRocks: The children of El Dorado play with gemstones; they're common there and have no other use. A classic example.