Candide was in love with the lovely Cunegonde, and the two were caught entwined in their first kiss. Candide was then banished from his castle and Cunegonde was punished. Soon after, Cunegonde was “cut open by Bulgarian soldiers after having been violated by many.”
Candide traveled the world with Professor Pangloss, a philosopher, as his companion, in search of paradise. Always the optimist, Candide suffered despicable acts, acts impossible to tolerate and certainly not survive, yet he did survive. No matter what happened, what horrors were endured, what atrocities were witnessed, Candide, under the guidance of his philosopher companion Pangloss, and later Martin, believed that all is for the best.
As he hopped from country to country, and continent to continent, Candide miraculously crossed paths with his not-dead heartthrob, Cunegonde, but she was not free to be with him. Candide rejoiced at the sight of her and continued his quest for paradise, then in search of reunion with the lovely Cunegonde.
At one point, Candide questioned the philosophy of his trusted Pangloss:
“Well, my dear Pangloss,” said Candide to him, “when you had been hanged, dissected, whipped, and were tugging at the oar, did you always think that everything is for the best?”
“I am still of my first opinion” answered Pangloss.
After insurmountable trials and tribulations Candide was ultimately reunited with Cunegonde, who had grown old and ugly, but a fine pastry cook, Candide realized he no longer loved her but after consideration, the two were finally married.
Pangloss later explained to Candide:
“If you had not been kicked out of a magnificent castle for love of Miss Cunegonde, if you had not been put into the inquisition; if you had not walked over America, if you had not stabbed the Baron, if you had not lost all your sheep from the fine country of El Dorado, you would not be here eating preserved citrons and pistachio nuts.”
And so Candide cultivated the land and enjoyed the pastries of his Cunegonde’s making.
Satire at its best. Candide, the novella, is thoroughly enjoyable, lively, and laugh-out-loud funny, even during the most horrific tales, and yet I am certain there is much more there that I did not grasp this first reading, and much, much more that I got but did not include in this brief review.