Candide is a subtle critique of wealth and its pursuit. When Candide leaves El Dorado, laden with riches, it seems plausible that this newfound wealth will help him to find Cunégonde. Instead, it attracts no end of tricksters and hangers-on, from the Dutch merchant Vanderdendur who robs and abandons Candide in Suriname, to the imposter Cunégonde in Paris. Candide's vast riches (and their gradual disappearance) are one of the great ironies of the novel. Not only do his riches not help him—they hold him back, slowing down his journey as thieves and flatterers—like the Abbé of Perigord and the Marchioness of Parolignac—gather around him. In the world of this novel, the pursuit of wealth is not just immoral, but useless. The rich Venetian Pococuranté has everything he could ever need, but remains unhappy. Tellingly, in El Dorado, the one place in the novel which comes close to resembling “the best of all possible worlds,” wealth and valuables are treated as useless trifles. Candide himself takes the same attitude, never haggling with the characters who offer him outrageous prices.
Wealth Quotes in Candide
“My friend,” said the orator to him, “do you believe the Pope to be Anti-Christ?”
“I have not heard it,” answered Candide; “but whether he be, or whether he be not, I want bread.”
“Alas!” said the other, “it was love; love, the comfort of the human species, the preserver of the universe, the soul of all sensible beings, love, tender love.”
"This present Paquette received of a learned Grey Friar, who had traced it to its source; he had had it of an old countess, who had received it from a cavalry captain, who owed it to a marchioness, who took it from a page, who had received it from a Jesuit, who when a novice had it in a direct line from one of the companions of Christopher Columbus. For my part I shall give it to nobody, I am dying."
“For my part, I have so far held out against both, and I verily believe that this is the reason why I am still beloved.”
“You'll make a prodigious fortune; if we cannot find our account in one world we shall in another. It is a great pleasure to see and do new things.”
“It is an admirable government. The kingdom is upwards of three hundred leagues in diameter, and divided into thirty provinces; there the Fathers possess all, and the people nothing; it is a masterpiece of reason and justice.”
“...but being surrounded by inaccessible rocks and precipices, we have hitherto been sheltered from the rapaciousness of European nations, who have an inconceivable passion for the pebbles and dirt of our land, for the sake of which they would murder us to the last man.”
“But is there not a pleasure,” said Candide “ in criticizing everything, in pointing out faults where others see nothing but beauties?”
“That is to say,” replied Martin, “that there is some pleasure in having no pleasure.”
“I have only twenty acres,” replied the old man; “I and my children cultivate them; our labour preserves us from three great evils—weariness, vice, and want.”
“All that is very well,” answered Candide, “but let us cultivate our garden.”