1. Discuss the significance of Jacques’ character. How does he fit in with Voltaire’s general view of human nature?
What is the significance of his death?
2. Martin claims that “man was born to spend his life alternately a prey to the throes of anxiety and lethargy of boredom” (177). Do the events of the novel
support this statement? Is one of the two options worse than the other? If what Martin says is true, then what does it imply about the values of social change and
3. How do the experiences of the women in Candide differ from those of the men? How do their reactions to those experiences differ from those of men?
4. What does Voltaire think about European colonization of the Americas? Discuss the significance of the character Cacambo and Candide’s encounter with the
5. Candide is subtitled, “or Optimism.” Is this text truly optimistic? Discuss how Pangloss’s teachings and Candide’s adventures adhere to this sense of
optimism. Lastly, does Candide’s retreat to his garden at the end of the novel affirm or negate the idea of optimism?
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