The story reflected the pessimistic atmosphere of the Seven years war and some disappointment of the author in the effectiveness of philosophy (“let us work without reasoning”). His attempt to “enlighten” the instigator of the war, of Frederick the Great, ended with the flight of the writer of Prussian power. The causes of violent conflict put under the gun of millions of soldiers in different parts of Europe, requiring them to kill each other, were difficult to explain.
After the attempt of Damien to the king of France was gathering an atmosphere of reaction and religious obscurantism. Newspapers trumpeted the hundreds of thousands of Portuguese who perished in the Lisbon earthquake. All this together questioned the rational optimism of the Enlightenment.
The genre is a philosophical tale (conte philosophique), with a touch absurdistiki and cynicism, “disguised” a picaresque novel (form goes back to the “True history” of Lucian). The heroes of the story, Candide, his girlfriend Cunegonde and Pangloss, the mentor — romp around the habitable world, being present at the battles of the Seven years war, the Russian capture of Azov, the Lisbon earthquake, and even visit the fantastic country of Eldorado.
The journey of the characters serve the author the occasion to ridicule the government, theology, military science, literature, art and metaphysics, especially the optimistic Leibniz, with his doctrine that “all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds”. These words sound sarcastic refrain every time, when the share of heroes fall out of a new disaster.
At the end of the novel the characters find themselves in Constantinople and learn from local dervish on naprasnosti metaphysical research. Expounded to them the recipe for happiness is easy to forget about the worries of life, and in public, devoting himself chosen craft — “cultivating the garden”.