Introduction to Candide and Assessment Questions
Directions: Read the following introduction below and then the following excerpts from the
introduction in the book:
1.The first page of the book (that says François Marie Arouet at the top).2.Page viii from the book’s introduction (second paragraph–“By the mid-1700s”–throughpage x down to “favoring brevity and satirical humor.”); and3. Page xiii starting at the second paragraph–“InCandide, Voltaire instills”–at the bottom ofthe page, through the end of the introduction on page xvi.
There are questions for these readings on the study guide. Answer those questions first.
Then read the entire play Candide and answer those questions. There are “non-chronologicalquestions” that you need to keep in mind as your read this part. The remaining questions aremostly meant to focus your attention, though they do occasionally explain parts of the story.
World Foundations INTRODUCTION:
In many ways, Voltaire’s satirical novella Candide can be considered the defining piece of literature
of the 18thcentury, a time which scholars call the Age of Enlightenment. New discoveries in scienceand a greater understanding of cultures around the world led many writers and philosophers toquestion the accepted wisdom of the culture that then existed in Europe, particularly in the area of
religion. The spirit of the times was to question the “religioustruths” of Christianity that had oftenled to war, persecution, and unrest and to reject anything that appeared to be mere superstition.
In the Middle Ages, faith, particularly in the traditions and teachings of the Catholic Church, hadbeen the means of finding truth and attaining salvation. In the Enlightenment, reason was the way topromote progress for humanity.
Reason in the Enlightenment meant that human beings should use skeptical inquiry based onobserved facts to come to conclusions of truth, rather than basing their belief systems on faith inaccepted religious teachings. The hoped-for result of reason would be improved conditions and
happiness in this life. It is in this context of the Enlightenment’s search for a better world through
reason that Thomas Jefferson’s list of unalienable rights contained in the Declaration ofIndependence—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—makes best sense.
This context also makes best sense of Jefferson’s use of the terms “nature’sGod” and “Creator” inthe Declaration rather than a more traditional term like “God the Father”. Many Enlightenmentthinkers had grown tired of the excesses and abuses of organized Christianity and state churches.Their religion of choice was often Deism, a religious philosophy that stressed ethics rather thandoctrines. God in deistic belief did not intervene much in the lives of mortal men and women. Hehad created the world and then more-or-less left human beings to use their minds to discover thelaws of happiness as found in an observation of nature and that creation.
This was the world that Voltaire lived in and helped create. These beliefs are the underlying
philosophy of Candide. Voltaire spins a tale that is deliberately absurd as a means of attackingsuperstition and conventional wisdom. The goal underlying his use of absurdity is to show the griefcaused by any belief system unwilling to question the underlying causes of pain and suffering. Heparticularly attacks the philosophy of sufficient reason as advocated by Gottfried Leibniz. Leibniztaught that there must always be a sufficient reason or cause for why an event, person, or thingoccurs or exists. Voltaire felt that this philosophy made human beings toocomplacent, that itallowed them to feel that since everything had a sufficient cause for its existence then it must beright, preventing them from working to change man-made atrocities and injustice. Bradley andDavid Nystrom explain Voltaire’s approach in these terms:
“In Candide, (1759), Voltaire demonstrated his commitment to common sense. He parodiedan idea popular at the time, put forward by Leibniz–that “this is the best of all possibleworlds”–by having his hero, Candide, suffer numerous adventures in which he learned of thehypocrisy of Christianity, the stupidity of arbitrary authority, and the horror of war. Voltairerejected Christianity as a mass of illogical superstitions, and instead embraced the idea of agod who created the universe as a giant machine and then left human being alone.” (TheHistory of Christianity: An Introduction, 306.)
In World Foundations terms, Candide the main character of the story is thrown out of hiscomfortable “Disney World bubble.” The resulting long journey forces him to see things he doesn’t
want to see and experience things he doesn’t want to experience. This journey challenges his long-cherished belief system and changes his perceptions.
Introduction Questions1. Which of the following are true?
A. The story of Candide is the story of a long journey.B.Deism emphasizes doctrines rather than ethics.C.The ideas behind Jefferson’s phrase “Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” is contraryto the Enlightenment thought of the time.D. Voltaire uses Candide to argue for the philosophy of Leibniz.
2. Voltaire deliberately uses absurdity as a means of attacking superstition and conventional wisdom. True False
3. Which of the following are true?
A. Voltaire’s stay at the Prussian court caused him to greatly admire Frederick the Great.
B. Voltaire attended Jesuit schools.C. Voltaire was a humanitarian reformer.D. Voltaire died in 1778.
4. Which of the following are true?
A. Voltaire was keenly interested in foreign countries.B. Because of censorship, Voltaire generally published his works outside of France.C. Voltaire preached violent overthrow of the French monarchy.D. Voltaire was refused admittance to the French Academy.
5. Which of the following are true?
A. Voltaire believed that war could be eliminated.B. Voltaire wants us to see that war can be funny.C. Voltaire refers to contemporary events in Candide.D. When Martin says, “Let us work without reasoning”, Voltaire is suggesting that weshould reject intellectual activity.
6. Leibniz demonstrated that the rape of Lucrece was a necessary prelude to the birth of the RomanRepublic. True False
Chronological Text Questions
7. Which of the following is false concerning chapter 1?
A. Pangloss means “all tongue.”B. Pangloss’s philosophy was that this is the best of all possible worlds, there is no effectwithout a cause, that all things are for the best, and that all things cannot be otherwisethan what they are.C. Candide was driven from the castle for disputing philosophy with Cunegonde and Dr.Pangloss.D. Candide’s name somewhat signified his character.E. Cunegonde caught Dr. Pangloss and a maid engaged in improper sexual behavior.
8. Which of the following is false concerning chapter 2?
A. The two men did not mean it when they told Candide that men are only born to help eachother.B. The King of the Bulgarians pardoned Candide just before he was to have his brains“bashed in”.C. Candide joined the Abare army after escaping the Bulgarian army.D. Candide’s statement that the human will is free and the subsequent beating he took, ismeant to show that reality is often different than what theologians and philosophersbelieve.E. The Abares represent the French.
9. Which of the following is false concerning chapter 3?
A. Candide immediately recognized the beggar that was tormented with a violent cough.B. Given that a Te Deum is a joyful Mass played with festive trumpets, Voltaire appears tobe mocking the fact that when two nations or armies fight each other, committing terribleatrocities, they both still claimed that God is on their side.C. Jacque the Anabaptist wanted to teach Candide how to make things in Holland to be soldin Holland as if they were made in Persia.D. The Protestant preacher would not give Candide anything to eat because Candide didn’tshare in his religious beliefs.E. Voltaire describes war as a phenomenon in which women are raped, children are killed,and atrocities are committed on human beings.
10. Which of the following is false concerning chapter 4?
A. Cunegonde was raped and cut open and her brother was cut open by the Bulgarian army.B. Pangloss told Candide that Paquette had infected him with venereal disease that she gotfrom a monk.C. Pangloss told Candide that Venereal disease was a good thing because it was a tradeofffor the chocolate and cochineal that Columbus brought back from the new world.D. The Anabaptist suggested to Candide and Pangloss that human nature was essentiallygood.
11. Which of the following is false concerning chapter 5? A Familiar of the Inquisition is aconfidential officer employed especially in apprehending and imprisoning the accused.A. That Pangloss ran immediately to give help to an injured Candide, instead of continuing
his philosophizing, shows that his character was growing.B. Voltaire used a real life disaster, the earthquake in Lisbon, to show that bad things happenin this life to all sorts of people, not just to bad people.C. That the brutal sailor was saved is Voltaire’s way of implying that there is very littlejustice in this world.D. Pangloss told Candide that the Lisbon Roads (the Bay of Lisbon) had been made onpurpose for the Anabaptist to be drowned.
12. In chapter 5, Pangloss begins to question his philosophy of optimism for the first time.
Auto-de-fé = The execution by the secular authorities of those condemned by the Inquisition. It wasusually held onaSunday between Whitsunday and Advent, and often formed a great publicsolemnity attended by all classes.The penitents and condemned (dressed in sanbenitos) wereconducted in a procession of ecclesiastics led by the Dominicans to church, where, after a sermon onthe true faith, they were formally absolved or were sentenced as guilty and turned over to the civilauthorities. Auto-de-féswere usually held in Spain and Portugal and their colonies. They occurredas early as the 13th century and as late as 1826, but were most common in the 16th century.
13. Which of the following is false concerning chapter 6?
A. The two individuals who would not eat bacon were taken to be Jews.B. Voltaire’s criticism of superstition clearly manifests itself in the two comments he makesabout the relationship between the occurrence of earthquakes and the holding of an auto-da-fé.C. Things went badly for Candide in this chapter but he still did not doubt the philosophy ofPangloss.
14. T/F Cunegonde laughed disdainfully at the story of the Anabaptist’s death.
15. Which of the following is false concerning chapter 8? A “Miserere” is a musical setting forPsalm 51, the most commonly used of the penitential hymns.A. The Catholic Grand Inquisitor and the Jew, Don Issachar, were worried about theirrespective religious laws concerning the day of the Sabbath, and so argued about whether itfell on Saturday or Sunday and who got to be with Cunegonde on those days.B. As Cunegonde and Candide sat down to dinner, the Inquisitor showed up.C. The illusions to soft and white skin by Cunegonde suggest she was a little more carnally
minded than a normal heroine of a story should be.
16. T/F Candide watched in horror as the Inquisitor slew Don Issachar.
17. T/F Don Issachar was buried in his synagogue and the Grand Inquisitor in a church.
18. Which of the following is false concerning chapter10?
A. The old woman believed that she had lived a more painful life than Cunegonde.B. The native revolt in Paraguay in 1756 was incited by Jesuit priests.C. Cunegonde seemed quite concerned that she didn’t have any more jewels or a lover togive her more.D. Candide hated to think about leaving the “best of all worlds” to go to the New World.
19. Which of the following is false concerning chapter11?
A. The old woman found it inconsistent that the Moslems who brutally killed all the Italiansmade sure to say their prayers five times a day.B. The old woman suggested that Moroccans were more hot-blooded than Europeans.C. The old woman’s fiancé was apparently poisoned by his ex-mistress.D. The old woman awoke to hear a white man say in Italian, “Come, I can help you escape.”
20. T/F Pope Urban X, who succeeded Paul IV, had been a Jesuit monk prior to his elevation to thepapacy.
21. Which of the following is false concerning chapter 12?
A. The old woman exhorted Cunegonde to have everyone on board tell their story, sure thatthey had all suffered and cursed his or her life.B. The castrated man who had been the chapel musician for the old woman’s mother, soldthe old woman as a slave to the Dey of Algeria.C. The old woman had been used as a plowhorse by the innkeeper she worked for in Leipzig.D. The Turkish Janissaries, faced with starvation, cut off one buttock of the woman in theirpresence for food, but the doctor that healed her said it was alright because it was doneaccording to the laws of war.E. In Algeria the old woman caught the plague.
22. Which of the following is false concerning chapter 13?
A. The old woman counseled Cunegonde to forsake Candide and marry the governor.B. The old woman counseled Candide to flee from the alcaide (mayor or judge in Spanishcolonies) who was seeking for the murderer of the Grand Inquisitor.C. The old woman stabbed the governor to save Cunegonde.
23. Which of the following is false concerning chapter 14?
A. The Jesuit father turned out to be the brother of Cunegonde.B. Cacambo convinced Candide to fight for the Jesuits rather than against them.C. Candide was told that it would be a three-hour wait to kiss the spurs of the Jesuit father inParguay, until it was learned that he was a German.D. Cacambo was amused by the fact that in Spain the Jesuits were confessors to the kings ofSpain and Portugal and in Paraguay the Jesuits made war against those kings.E. Candide admitted to Cacambo that he had cash hidden in the secret part of his saddlebags.
24. Which of the following is false concerning chapter 15?
A. Cacambo helped Candide escape by letting him down in a basket out of a window atnight.B. Cunegonde’s brother was offended that Candide, able to prove only 71 of 72 quarteringsof nobility in his genealogy, would dare marry his sister, who could prove 72 of 72quarterings.C. Candide stabbed Cunegonde’s brother.