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Questions on Voltaire’s Candide Essay Sample

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Questions on Voltaire’s Candide Essay Sample

1. In the very first chapter Candide is literally kicked out of the “most beautiful and delightful of possible castles,” expelled from an “earthly paradise.” At the end of the novel, he says “we must cultivate our garden.” What is Voltaire suggesting by framing his story in this way and by echoing the Biblical story of the Fall? 2. Why does Candide select Martin to be his travel companion? How do Martin’s views differ from Pangloss’? Offer specific details in the two philosophers’ outlooks—yes, quote the work. 3. In what ways does Voltaire’s satire extend beyond his own time? To what kinds of political, philosophical, and religious hypocrisy does Voltaire apply his satire and how do his remarks still stand today? 4. What happens to the Anabaptist Jacques? How is his end ironic and a refutation of Pangloss’ ideology that this is the best of all possible worlds? 5. Explain the humor of how Pangloss “helps” Candide who is lying under a heap of stone. How does Voltaire use this episode to attack optimistic philosophy? 6. Why is Candide whipped and Pangloss hanged? What is an “auto-da-fe? How does this event pertain to Voltaire’s satire of the Church? 7. Who sends the old woman to Candide?

How is this ironic? What point does the old woman serve, especially when her story is revealed? 8. What was a “mere matter of routine,” as described by Cunegonde? How is this satiric? What point does Voltaire make through this part of the novel? 9. How is Cunegonde treated by the Bulgar captain? How does Don Issachar obtain Cunegonde? What point does Voltaire make through his remarks about the men and Cunegonde? 10. How does Cunegonde become acquainted with the Grand Inquisitor? What was Cunegonde’s reaction to the auto-da-fe? Why? 11. What happens to Don Issachar? To the Grand Inquisitor? What advice does the old woman give to Candide and Cunegonde?

12. Describe El Dorado. How do the residents regard gold and jewels? How does this differ from  the European attitude? Why would anyone leave El Dorado? What satiric point is Voltaire making about the choice to leave?
13. Why does Candide stay devoted to Cunegonde, despite all of his suffering, his losses, the  obstacles that he must face—and what does this devotion illustrate? What point might
Voltaire have tried to express?
14. What does the little farm represent for Candide, for the companions, and for Voltaire? Why does Voltaire present Cunegonde as so strikingly changed? Has Candide lost and then regained paradise?

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