Voltaire's Candide can only be described as a satirical novella that was intended to attack the optimistic and backwards way of thinking that was common during the 18th century. Filled with absurd and darkly humorous content, the short work is a highly debatable and thought-provoking piece.
The story centers around Candide, the nephew of a baron, who's teacher, Pangloss, teaches Candide that the world is the way it should be and that everything in it is good. Candide is kicked out of the castle, forced into the armed service, flogged, nearly killed, and eventually finds himself stranded on an island. Throughout all of the hardship he endures, Candide tries to keep a positive and optimistic viewpoint as taught to him by his teacher. He eventually meets Pangloss, again, and is surprised to find that Pangloss is diseased and on the verge of dying. Despite the illness, Pangloss still insists that his disease is necessary and reasons that the ship, which brought him the illness, also brought chocolate; and therefore, his suffering is of no great consequence.
Candide eventually comes to the conclusion that perhaps the world is only what you make of it, and not inherently perfect or good. Although the story is filled with hardship and surprising bad luck, the overall style is exaggerated and humorous.
Public Domain ©2015 Voltaire (P)2015 A.R.N. Publications