Candide A simple young man who travels the world and experiences all of its joys and horrors. Throughout the novel, Candide acts as a test for the concept of philosophical optimism, or "all is for the best."
Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh A vain, pompous man, living in the castle at Westphalia. He, along with his son, is considered a possible representation of Frederick the Great.
Cunégonde The baron's beautiful daughter, with whom Candide is in love.
Doctor Pangloss A learned philosopher and tutor to the baron. He espouses the philosophy of philosophical optimism.
Paquette A chambermaid in the baron's household; she has an affair with Pangloss and infects him with a disfiguring disease.
The Anabaptist A caring man who saves the lives of Candide, Pangloss, and a sailor on a ship.
The old woman A woman working for Cunégonde who helps Candide escape from the gallows at the auto-da-fé and nurses him to health. The daughter of Pope Urban X and the princess of Palestrina, the old woman has suffered greatly throughout her life.
The Grand Inquisitor A high-ranking official in the church who takes interest in Cunégonde. He shares her with Don Issachar.
Don Issachar A wealthy, Jewish court banker who tries to win the affection of Cunégonde. He shares her with the Grand Inquisitor.
Don Fernando The governor of Buenos Aires, who steals Cunégonde from Candide.
Cacambo Candide's faithful valet, who travels with him and eventually settles at the farm with the rest of the group.
Mynheer Vanderdendur A ruthless ship captain who cheats Candide out of 20,000 piasters.
Martin A long-suffering elderly scholar who travels with Candide throughout Europe. He also settles at the farm with Candide and Cunégonde.
Friar Giroflée Now Paquette's companion, Giroflée was forced by his parents to become a monk. He and Paquette settle at Candide's farm.
Senator Pococurante A man reported to have never known grief. Candide visits him as a means of testing philosophical optimism, but Pococurante turns out to be miserable.
The six kings Six foreigners whom Candide meets at dinner. They six were kings who were dethroned in one way or another.
The Turk The man who reveals to Candide the secret of his happiness: work.