So in Candide one finds a hero living in his utopia, the castle of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh. Voltaire then posed the basic problem: is this indeed the best of all possible worlds, as his naive hero firmly believed? To answer that question, an inciting incident is provided — Candide's amatory play with Cunégonde, which leads to his expulsion from his Westphalian paradise. What follows is a conflict between hope and despair, as the hero experiences one thing after another. And each experience constitutes for the reader, if not until the end for Candide, a refutation of the doctrine of optimism: the brutal treatment at the hands of the Bulgars; the horrors of warfare; the tempest and earthquake; the Inquisition, where he witnessed the hanging of Pangloss and was flogged within an inch of his life;
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possible worlds, Baron Thundertentronckh. Voltaire