Candide Summary With Analysis

5112 words - 21 pages

Candide by Voltaire

Voltaire is a French writer who says “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to death your right to say it.”
Voltaire is mocking a German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz who believes that we live in the best of all possible worlds
Candide is a satire on optimism
Optimism is a mental attitude or world view derived from the term best, which means to expect the best outcome
Candide

Young man whose name means pure and innocient
Pangloss
Guide for Europe
Candide’s tutor and companion
Extreme optimist
Name means “wind bag”
distorted, exaggerated representation of a certain kind of philosopher whose personality is ...view middle of the document...

Martin’s absolute pessimism dictates that a valet trusted with millions in gold will certainly betray his master, yet Cacambo’s honesty defies that pessimism
abides by ideas that discourage any active efforts to change the world for the better, similar to Pangloss but for different reasons
Chapter 1:
Candide lives in the country home of the influential Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh in Westphalia.
The daughter of the Baron and Baroness is a beauty named Cunégonde.
Candide is tutored by Pangloss, a scholar of metaphysico-theologo-cosmolo-nigology.
Pangloss must be an expert in everything
Pangloss teaches that in the best of all possible worlds, everything is ultimately for the best, and that every effect has a cause.
Voltaire mocks this belief: “…things cannot be otherwise than they are, for since everything is made to serve an end, everything necessarily serves the best end. Observe: noses were made to support spectacles, hence we have spectacles...”
Cunegonde saw Pangloss having sex with the maid and wants to perform the experiment herself
One evening, Cunégonde and Candide meet behind a screen when leaving the dinner table and they share a kiss before Cunégonde’s father catches them and flips out. He banishes Candide.

*Philosophical optimism
Belief that we live in the best of all possible worlds*

Chapter 2:
Candide wanders penniless, cold, and hungry to a nearby town called Waldberghoff-tarbk-dikdorff.
Two men ask Candide to dinner and the men lead Candide in a toast to the King of the Bulgars. Then they bind Candide with irons and conscript him into the King’s army.
In the army, Candide is frequently beaten and mistreated.
The army is full of tricksters and bad men instead of heros and good men
Candide is confused about why he’s there and getting beaten for no reason
One morning, not realizing he’s breaking a rule, Candide goes on a walk by himself. He is quickly captured and asked to choose between running the gauntlet thirty-six times or being beheaded. Hmmm.
Candide says, "Neither!" But the men say that’s not one of the options.
About two gauntlets later, Candide realizes that "six and thirty" is a lot.
Right as he is about to be beheaded, the Bulgar King appears and instructs the executioners to spare Candide since it is obvious that he is a philosopher and completely clueless.

Chapter 3:
The King of the Bulgars goes to battle with the King of Abars.
The battle kills several thousand men on each side and as soon as it’s safe to come out, he deserts.
Candide wanders through scenes of horrible carnage
He wanders philosophically into another town and requests charity from a Protestant minister. The man asks Candide to express his religious allegiance to the Pope not being the antichrist, but Candide is only able to respond with Pangloss’s signature philosophical statements about cause and effect.
The minister’s wife, in a fit of rage, dumps a bucket of human waste on...

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