Simplicity in Candide and Siddhartha

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Throughout the novel Candide, written by Voltaire, the professor Pangloss is a loyal companion to the title character. Whenever an unfortunate event occurs, no matter how deplorable or horrific, Pangloss counsels Candide and tells him they live in the "best of all possible worlds" and "all is for the best." (Voltaire 20) Candide traverses on his journey and accepts this as truth. The title character of Siddhartha, in contrast, follows his own path and questions the counsel of elders and even the great Buddha himself. Nevertheless, at the conclusion of the journeys of both Siddhartha and Candide, their stories converge when simplicity is found to be key to both their philosophies of life.

The setting of Candide begins in Westphalia, a land described as an "earthly paradise" (Voltaire 22) and owned by the Baron Thunder-Ten-Tronckh. Candide is "blessed by nature with the most agreeable manners" (Voltaire 19) and lives in Westphalia until he is exiled after a sexual encounter found to be unpardonable with the baron's daughter, Cunégonde. In light of this event, Candide makes the statement: There is no effect without a cause. All things are necessarily connected and arranged for the best. It was my fate to be driven from Lady Cunégonde's presence and made to run the gauntlet, and now I have to beg my bread until I can earn it. Things could not have happened otherwise. (Voltaire 26-27) Another instance in which Candide displays his naïve and unadulterated nature takes place when he is treated derisively by a minister and his wife. The minister questions Candide as to whether or not he believes that the Pope is Antichrist, and when Candide does not answer in the manner found suitable by the minister's wife, she begins degrading him and ultimately pours the contents of a chamber pot on his head. It is then that Candide is taken in by a non-Christian man, James, and treated well. Candide uses James' actions as vindication for the others' treatment of him,...
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