Candide is a satire filled with humor and extraordinarily unrealistic situations that evolve in order to develop prevailing themes. The primary themes are 1) the folly of optimism, and pessimism as well, 2) the hypocrisy of religion, 3) the corrupting power of money, and 4) the assumed superiority of nobility according to the so-called neoclassical movement. Sub-themes that develop are 1) the sexual exploitation of women, 2) anti-Semitism, and 3) anti-slavery.
I think the character of Pangloss represents blind optimism in his philosophy of "everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds". His view borders on the contemporary outlook known as "predestination", that whatever is going to happen will happen, regardless. And, although Candide supports Pangloss" view by mentioning free will, this view really discards man's free will entirely. Further, this blind optimism is pretty ridiculous, considering the many tragedies the Candide characters endure. Pangloss continually strives for justification for these many tragedies, but his arguments are simply never justified. For example, he felt if Columbus had not traveled to the New World and brought syphilis back to Europe, Europeans would also not have enjoyed chocolate. I guess it is good to optimistic about everything, but sometime it just simple isn't true. Even though Pangloss leaves the impression that he doesn't "believe a word of" his optimistic conclusions, he nonetheless stated to Candide that it would not be right for him to recant. .
On the contrary, I think the characters of the old woman and Martin epitomize blind pessimism. The old woman defined life as misery, for that is all she knew. When asks of Candide why the world was made, Martin replied, "To make us mad". Martin was so blindly pessimistic that he dismissed any real evidence that tended to contradict his philosophy. He asserted that Cacambo could do nothing other than run off with Candide's money, yet Cacambo remained loyal to Candide.