When he is sent away in disgrace after kissing his cousin, the lady Cunégonde, Candide finds himself first pressed into military service with the Prussians, and then beset by natural disasters in Portugal before being reunited first with his tutor, Pangloss, and then finally with his beloved Cunégonde. As the trio embark on a new life in South America, they find their faith once again challenged by the events that befall them.
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“Do you believe,' said Candide, 'that men have always massacred each other as they do to-day, that they have always been liars, cheats, traitors, ingrates, brigands, idiots, thieves, scoundrels, gluttons, drunkards, misers, envious, ambitious, bloody-minded, calumniators, debauchees, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools?'
Do you believe,' said Martin, 'that hawks have always eaten pigeons when they have found them?” ― Voltaire, Candide
Candide is a young man who is raised in wealth to be an optimist but when he is forced to make his own way in the world, his assumptions and outlook are challenged.
Published in 1759, Candide is considered one of the most important works in Western literary canon. Because of its strong criticism of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the governments of France, Prussia, England, and Portugal, the novel was almost immediately banned in some countries. In the centuries since, Candide has been plagiarized, imitated, and adapted for film, television, and opera many times.
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