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Candide

analytical Essay
2034 words
2034 words
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Candide is the illegitimate nephew of a German baron. He grows up in the baron’s castle under the tutelage of the scholar Pangloss, who teaches him that this world is “the best of all possible worlds.” Candide falls in love with the baron’s young daughter, Cunégonde. The baron catches the two kissing and expels Candide from his home. On his own for the first time, Candide is soon conscripted into the army of the Bulgars. He wanders away from camp for a brief walk, and is brutally flogged as a deserter. After witnessing a horrific battle, he manages to escape and travels to Holland.

In Holland, a kindly Anabaptist named Jacques takes Candide in. Candide runs into a deformed beggar and discovers that it is Pangloss. Pangloss explains that he has contracted syphilis and that Cunégonde and her family have all been brutally murdered by the Bulgar army. Nonetheless, he maintains his optimistic outlook. Jacques takes Pangloss in as well. The three travel to Lisbon together, but before they arrive their ship runs into a storm and Jacques is drowned. Candide and Pangloss arrive in Lisbon to find it destroyed by an earthquake and under the control of the Inquisition. Pangloss is soon hanged as a heretic, and Candide is flogged for listening with approval to Pangloss’s philosophy. After his beating, an old woman dresses Candide’s wounds and then, to his astonishment, takes him to Cunégonde. Cunégonde explains that though the Bulgars killed the rest of her family, she was merely raped and then captured by a captain, who sold her to a Jew named Don Isaachar. At present, she is a sex slave jointly owned by Don Isaachar and the Grand Inquisitor of Lisbon. Each of Cunégonde’s two owners arrive in turn as she and Candide are talking, and Candide kills them both. Terrified, Candide, the old woman, and Cunégonde flee and board a ship bound for South America. During their journey, the old woman relates her own story. She was born the Pope’s daughter but has suffered a litany of misfortunes that include rape, enslavement, and cannibalism.
Candide and Cunégonde plan to marry, but as soon as they arrive in Buenos Aires, the governor, Don Fernando, proposes to Cunégonde. Thinking of her own financial welfare, she accepts. Authorities looking for the murderer of the Grand Inquisitor arrive from Portugal in pursuit of Candide. Along with a newly acquired valet named Cacambo, Candid...

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...to the latter category, because they will admit no exceptions. Like Pangloss, Martin abides by ideas that discourage any active efforts to change the world for the better. If, as Martin asserts, “man [is] bound to live either in convulsions of misery or in the lethargy of boredom,” why should anyone try to rescue anyone else from “convulsions of misery”?
Cacambo
Cacambo sheds a subtle and interesting light on the philosophical themes of the novel. Unlike any other character in the novel, he inspires perfect confidence, both in his intelligence and his moral uprightness. He knows both native American and European languages, and deals capably with both the Jesuits and the Biglugs. He suffers fewer gross misfortunes than any other character, less out of luck than because of his sharp wits, and he lives up to Candide’s trust when Candide sends him to fetch Cunégonde. Any reader tempted to conclude that Voltaire has no faith in human nature must reconsider when faced with the example of Cacambo. Despite the optimism Cacambo inspires, however, he is no optimist himself. His wide experience of the world has led Cacambo to conclude that “the law of nature teaches us to kill our neighbor.”

In this essay, the author

  • Narrates how candide is the illegitimate nephew of a german baron. he grows up under the tutelage of the scholar pangloss, who teaches him that this world is "the best of all possible worlds."
  • Narrates how candide and pangloss travel to lisbon to find their ship destroyed by an earthquake and under the control of the inquisition.
  • Narrates how candide and cunégonde plan to marry, but when they arrive in buenos aires, the governor proposes to her. they flee to territory controlled by jesuits who are revolting against the spanish government.
  • Narrates how candide and cacambo travel to eldorado, where gold and jewels litter the streets. they return to cunégonde with countless valuables loaded onto swift pack sheep.
  • Analyzes how candide and martin mingle with the social elite in paris and venice, where cunégonde and cacambo are nowhere to be found.
  • Narrates how candide discovers pangloss and the baron in a turkish chain gang and finds cunégonde and an old woman.
  • Analyzes how candide is bland, nave, and highly susceptible to the influence of stronger characters. he is an effective, sympathetic hero.
  • Analyzes how pangloss, candide's mentor, is a distorted, exaggerated representation of an inseparable philosopher who parodies the ideas of g. w. von leibniz.
  • Analyzes how voltaire illustrates two major problems inherent in pangloss’s philosophy. first, his philosophy flies in the face of overwhelming evidence from the real world.
  • Analyzes how pangloss' philosophy encourages a passive and complacent attitude toward all that is wrong in the world.
  • Analyzes how martin acts as both foil and counterpart to pangloss. he is more believable than the other major characters in the novel.
  • Analyzes how martin's philosophy is more effective and honest than pangloss', but it also has some of the same flaws.
  • Analyzes how cacambo sheds a subtle and interesting light on the philosophical themes of the novel.
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