Candide is a satirical novel written by the French writer Voltaire (1694-1778). The story follows the life of a young man named Candide who lives in a time when people believe that the world is beautiful and peaceful. However, Candide quickly discovers that evil and misfortune exist everywhere.
Candide is one of the most famous works of Voltaire, who was one of the most influential French philosophers and writers during his time.
Voltaire’s first version of Candide was published in 1759. It was revised in 1762 and again in 1764. In this way, Voltaire created three different versions of Candide before publishing it officially in 1768.
In addition to being a satire on Leibniz’s optimism, Candide also criticizes many other philosophers and religious leaders who believed that everything happens for a purpose:
The story is set in the 18th century during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) between France and England over control of North America (Canada). This conflict had major effects on France’s economy and brought about social unrest due to food shortages among other things (see Causes of the French Revolution).
Candide is often considered an extended satire on Leibnizian optimism because it depicts the world as being inherently evil or corrupt, while Pangloss claims that “this is the best of all possible worlds.” That’s why Candide is considered one of Voltaire’s most significant works, and it continues to be favored and influential today. It is an outstanding example of the strength of satire to question and challenge prevailing views and opinions.