Candide © beyond | Herwig Zens

Content

In the most beautiful castle imaginable, the Schloss Thunder-Ten-Tronck in Westphalia, live the happiest of all happy people: Candide, the baron’s illegitimate nephew, the baron’s children Maximilian and Cunegonde, and Paquette, Cunegonde’s friend and companion from childhood days. Their tutor is Dr. Pangloss, the greatest philosopher in the whole wide world. From him the young people learn that they live in the best of all possible worlds. But when Candide is caught in the act with the daughter of the house, whom he adores, he is expelled from the best of all possible worlds. Candide is forced to join the army, and what real life has in store for him could scarcely be harder or more pitiless. In the meantime, war has brought the peaceful idyll in the castle to an abrupt end and scattered its occupants to the four winds. In the search for truth, justice and the best of all possible worlds their paths subsequently cross in unexpected ways: Candide meets his teacher Dr. Pangloss again and travels with him to Lisbon which has just been hit by a terrible earthquake. Here they encounter Cunegonde who has come into wealth of sorts working as a high-class prostitute. The three of them travel over the Atlantic. On the way their ship is attacked by pirates and Cunegonde is abducted. In the New World, Candide unexpectedly encounters Paquette and Maximilian. Back in the Old World they succeed in buying Cunegonde out of a harem in Constantinople. In the process they are unexpectedly reunited with their teacher whom they thought was dead. They are disillusioned to realise that the best of all possible worlds only exists in philosophy, but Dr. Pangloss still clings to the belief that all their suffering had its good points and that consequently there is nothing to be said against the best of all worlds. Candide and Cunegonde, however, prefer to stop dreaming of paradise, and instead plan to cultivate their own little garden with their own hands because it is only work that makes life bearable.