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Candide


            Candide and the Book of Job Religion has been a staple of human society since the dawn of recorded history and probably traces back even further. All religions found in history have one common theme between them besides their belief in a supreme power. Each religion helps explain what man cannot. Since Emperor Constantine changed the Roman Empire to Christianity, the faith has dominated western civilization. Voltaire, one of the most prominent philosophers of the Enlightenment, deals with the principles of Christianity in the book, Candide. Through an allegory of the Book of Job in the Old Testament of the Bible, Voltaire questions the struggles of men on Earth. Voltaire's main character, Candide, is somewhat of a simple man living a happy life in the castle of the Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh. Voltaire chooses the name Candide, a French adjective rooted in the Latin word "candidus" or white, for this character to show that he is an innocent person with good intentions. He lives here with the Baron because he is the illegitimate son of the Baron's sister who was unwilling to marry his father since he was poor. Voltaire has Candide born out of wedlock, a sin according to Christian principles, to prove that he is born into sin. Candide is raised in the castle along with the Baron's son and daughter, Cunegonde, and the three of them are taught by Pangloss. Pangloss teaches a philosophy known as optimism to the three children. Optimism believes that this is the best of all possible worlds and all events on Earth are due to cause and effect. The philosophy also holds that every event is necessary for one reason or another. Pangloss's teachings are representative of the Christian religion. According to the word of God, every man who believes in him and asks for forgiveness of his sins receives eternal life, the best possible world. Unfortunately, due to the sins of Adam and Eve, man must live life on Earth before he can reach the perfection of Heaven, and the trials of life on Earth, brought on by the Devil, are meant to test man's faith in God.


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