Candide and Redemption, Moral Truth, and a Just Society

Candide and the Theme of Redemption

Voltaire view of redemption is that it has to be bought. Candide, the primary protagonist, lives with Baron before his expulsion. One of the teachings that he clings to is optimism in life. He is expelled from Baron’s castle and losses the girl that he loves dearly-Cungode (Voltaire, 1999). After the expulsion he sets to travel the world though not by choice by due to various circumstances. His journey and life shows that when a person is optimistic in the end they get saved from the sufferings that they have endured.

His redemption from the misfortunes that he has suffered is made possible at the end when he not only gets Cungode back but also finds a family and farming career which makes him happy. What remains apparent is that for Candide there has to be a price paid for a person to gain back what was his.

For example, he purchases the freedom of the old woman, Pangloss and Cunegode. The willingness that Candide had to purchase back this people indicates that he believed that to get redemption a price has to be paid. The other example is that in order to save her beloved Candide had to kill two people. Salvation therefore comes but only at a price that a person must be willing to pay.

Candide and the theme of Moral Truths

Moral truth as presented using the protagonist Candide is subjective implying that there can never be an absolute level of morality. By extension, this means that moral truth is when the good that a person does surpasses the evil that they have committed. For example, Candide makes a statement that ‘if I had not been so lucky as to run Miss Cunegonde’s brother through the body, I should have been devoured without redemption'(Voltaire, 1999).. This statement indicates that Candide killed to protect himself and there he is justified for doing so. The other example is when Candide kills the monkeys that were biting the buttocks of young ladies. He is relieved and says that although he killed two people he has saved the lives of the girls

Also, moral truth involves striving to ensure that the lives of beloved ones are improved whenever one can. For example Candide helps Pangloss, Cunaagode and the old woman with a pure heart. He purchases a farm and they start cultivating to improve their lives. When asked if this is the best of all possible words as Pangloss used to teach Candide does not give an absolute answer but sates ‘We must tend our garden’. This implies that the moral truth is simply hard work and improving life.

Candide and the theme of Just Society

The society is in many ways presented as being un-just. Candide and other characters are always placed in a situation where they have to suffer in the hands of bad people. For example Candide is expelled from Barons castle simple because he was found kissing Cunegode. It is not fair that Candime has to take the blame alone.  On his journey he is brutally flogged without a good justification.

There appears to be a great gap between the rich and the poor. Those who are powerful take advantage of the vulnerable within the society. All this occurrences make the society to be evil. For example, women are used and the damped if they come from a lower social class as indicated in this statement; ‘The old servants of the family suspected him to have been the son of the Baron’s sister, by a good, honest gentleman of the neighborhood, whom that young lady would never marry because he had been able to prove only seventy-one quarterings, the rest of his genealogical tree having been lost through the injuries of time'(Voltaire, 1999).

The other example of unjust society is presented in the way slaves are treated without mercy by people who are in power. ‘I need not tell you how hard it was for a young princess and her mother to be made slaves and carried to Morocco’ (Voltaire, 1999). This statement indicates that being made slave was involuntary but the slave masters were indifferent to their suffering.


Voltaire (1999). Candide. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

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