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Book Review - Candide by Voltaire

            Candide is a compelling novel, written by Voltaire, satirizing the optimism promoted by the philosophers during the Age of Enlightenment. The protagonist, Candide, discovers true happiness after he loses his love, Cunégonde, and became the recipient to hardships, horror, and misfortunes along his journey to find her again. Along his conquest, Candide was always accompanied with fellow philosophers Pangloss and Martin. In equal respects, both characters are embodiments of different philosophies of the time: Pangloss, the optimist, and Martin, the pessimist. Each of these two travelers is never together with Candide, until the end, but both entice him to interpret the world in one of their two philosophies. As the story advances, Candide's viewpoint on how he perceives the world oscillates between optimism and pessimism. By the conclusion of Candide's journey, Candide isn't a philosopher of either optimism or pessimism. Abandoning such philosophies allows the ending to be hopeful and sanguine. .
             The beginning of the book features the young, naive man named Candide. Candide was raised in the castle of the Baron of Westphalia, where he was taught the philosophies of Pangloss. Pangloss teaches Candide the ideals of optimism stating "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds." Candide's journey began after he is banished from Westphalia for kissing the Baron's daughter, Cunégonde, and is determined to be with her once again. As the story progresses, Candide and Pangloss travel to the city of Lisbon where thousands of people fall victim to earthquakes. Candide and Pangloss help the earthquake's victims by offering words of encouragement notably when Pangloss says "all is best, for all is well". The religious scholars of Lisbon believe that in order to stop and prevent future earthquakes, they must punish Lisbon's sinners in a ritualistic sacrifice called an auto-da-fe.

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