Voltaire's Candide: The Prospect of Survival

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In Voltaire's Candide, many of the characters share the uncanny ability to go through difficult situations and survive. Some of them are even killed, only to return in the next chapter healthier than ever. In many cases, they narrowly escape death due to the help of a friend who bails them out and asks for nothing in return. After so many close calls, one can't help but speculate if a higher power is in control of their fates, or possibly their survival is solely due to luck.

In the first chapter, Candide is caught kissing Cunegonde by her father, the Baron, who banishes him from the castle. He walks to an inn where he is recruited into the Bulgarian army by two large soldiers who lead him to the camp where his "training" begins. His training consists of regular beatings, so Candide decides to leave the army. He is later caught and given the choice between execution and being beaten 36 times by each of the army's 2,000 soldiers. He chooses the beating. After 4,000 blows he is missing nearly all of the skin on his back, and asks to be shot instead. He is p...

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