Candide

What was Candide's character?

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The fantastically naïve young man who is "driven from his earthly paradise" with hard kicks in his backside is Candide. Like Everyman, from the medieval morality play by that name, Candide experiences as much as a man could experience in order to arrive at a well-deserved conclusion regarding the plight of man. He exemplifies the idea of optimism when he reluctantly enters the world and leaves the household of the Baron's castle in Westphalia behind. Westphalia, so Candide was told, is the best of all possible kingdoms. In retrospect, he sees that it had a few problems.

It is suspected that Candide is the bastard offspring of the Baron's sister and a gentleman of the neighborhood. This ignoble birth is not held over him except when it matters most—marriage to Cunégonde. In the course of his travels he is conscripted, beaten, and robbed. Circumstances make Candide a criminal, "I'm the kindest man in the world, yet I've already killed three men, and two of them were priests!" People take advantage of him especially when they learn about his love for Cunégonde. Consequently, pretenders mislead him and, therefore, he experiences the loss of love many times. During any pause in the excitement, he ponders his predicament and the human condition in terms worthy of the deepest philosopher.

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