Book Cover of Candide

Candide

by Voltaire

A picaresque novel written by French satirical polemicist and philosopher Voltaire, Candide blatantly attacks the ideology of philosopher Leibniz. Candide follows the series of unfortunate events encountered by the young, yet blindly optimistic Candide. Shifting from one adventure to the next, Voltaire’s signature piece does not cease to grip its audience with its humorous criticism of power, wealth, love, religion, philosophy and especially optimism. The novel begins with the introduction of the protagonist Candide, who lives in the castle of an influential German Baron, along with the Baron’s daughter Cunégonde, and tutor Dr. Pangloss. Depicted as an open-minded young man, Candide is influenced by the ideas of Dr. Pangloss who shares with him his philosophy that “all is for the best” and plants within him the seeds of optimism. However, events in the life of this young protagonist and his surroundings are everything but ideal. Such is his predetermined lower social class which alone labels him an unfitting suitor for the beautiful Cunégonde. Despite the mutual affection, it is this love that triggers his subsequent misfortune, after the Baron discovers the pair kissing and Candide is immediately thrown out of the castle and left to fend for himself in the not so idyllic world. Determined to abide by the law of optimism and reason, he maintains his positive outlook on life, and that everything is for the best. So begins his exhilarating journey as he confronts and dodges endless unpleasant situations. Nevertheless, he is not alone on his seemingly discouraging path and repeatedly finds himself in the company of those who have been dealt a bad hand in life and who have been left to the mercy of life’s cruelty. The naïve and simplistic nature of the protagonist ignites sympathy within the reader as they intriguingly follow him throughout each obstacle while the theory of optimism is continuously challenged. Voltaire chooses to not only criticize, but also report on the current issues of his time, which he successfully addresses through satire. He includes both historical events as well as moral issues which are as much of a concern as they were in Voltaire’s time. Candide is a novel which not only serves to entertain with its witty humor, but leaves readers to chew on their thoughts long after the novel’s ending.

Book Details

Language

English

Original Language

French

Published In

1759

Author

Voltaire image

Voltaire

France

François-Marie Arouet , known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity—especially the...

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