- Candide: The title character. Illegitimate son of the sister of the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh. In love with Cunégonde.
- Cunégonde: The daughter of the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh. In love with Candide.
- Professor Pangloss: The royal educator of the court of the baron. Described as "the greatest philosopher of the Holy Roman Empire".
- The Old Woman: Cunégonde's maid while she is the mistress of Don Issachar and the Grand Inquisitor of Portugal. Flees with Candide and Cunégonde to the New World. Illegitimate daughter of Pope Urban X.
- Cacambo: From a Spanish father and a Peruvian mother. Lived half his life in Spain and half in Latin America. Candide's valet while in America.
- Martin: Dutch amateur philosopher and Manichaean. Meets Candide in Suriname, travels with him afterwards.
- The Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh: Brother of Cunégonde. Is seemingly killed by the Bulgarians, but becomes a Jesuit in Paraguay. Disapproves of Candide and Cunegonde's marriage.
- The baron and baroness of Thunder-ten-Tronckh: Father and mother of Cunégonde and the second baron. Both slain by the Bulgarians.
- The king of the Bulgarians.
- Jacques the Anabaptist: Saves Candide from a lynching in the Netherlands. Drowns in the port of Lisbon after saving another sailor's life.
- Don Issachar: Jewish landlord in Portugal. Cunégonde becomes his mistress, shared with the Grand Inquisitor of Portugal. Killed by Candide.
- The Grand Inquisitor of Portugal: Sentences Candide and Pangloss at the auto-da-fé. Cunégonde is his mistress jointly with Don Issachar. Killed by Candide.
- Don Fernando d'Ibarra y Figueroa y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza: Spanish governor of Buenos Aires. Wants Cunégonde as a mistress.
- The king of El Dorado, who helps Candide and Cacambo out of El Dorado, lets them pick gold from the grounds, and makes them rich.
- Mynheer Vanderdendur: Dutch ship captain. Offers to take Candide from America to France for 30,000 gold coins, but then departs without him, stealing all his riches.
- The abbot of Périgord: Befriends Candide and Martin, leads the police to arrest them; he and the police officer accept three diamonds each and release them.
- The marchioness of Parolignac: Parisian wench who takes an elaborate title.
- The scholar: One of the guests of the "marchioness". Argues with Candide about art.
- Paquette: A chambermaid from Thunder-ten-Tronckh who gave Pangloss syphilis. After the slaying by the Bulgarians, works as a prostitute and becomes the property of Friar Giroflée.
- Friar Giroflée: Theatine friar. In love with the prostitute Paquette.
- Signor Pococurante: A Venetian noble. Candide and Martin visit his estate, where he discusses his disdain of most of the canon of great art.
- In an inn in Venice, Candide and Martin dine with six men who turn out to be deposed monarchs:
- Ahmed III
- Ivan VI of Russia
- Charles Edward Stuart
- Augustus III of Poland
- Stanisław Leszczyński
- Theodore of Corsica
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