The Importance of Setting Repetition in Siddhartha and Candide

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The path to maturity and enlightenment can’t be completed in just one step. Trials are the events that define a hero, but even when he reaches the final destination, it isn’t his end identity that is most important; it’s the journey by which he suffers and conquers. In order to experience the troubles that define him, he must travel from his home. The importance of location is vital for a hero because it allows for varying situations and more chance for growth. There are settings, however, that repeat themselves within the course of their quests. This is representative of the cyclical nature of the world and life. One cannot always be somewhere new; there are always recurring events in life that are vital for change. Candide by Voltaire and Siddhartha by Herman Hesse are classic narratives of heroes who encounter recurring events which are vital in their quest to maturity and enlightenment. The significance of setting repetition in Candide and Siddhartha is to transition the characters from one tribulation to the next.

Candide is a man whom fortune rarely smiles, but after each of his trials, he is given hope by voyaging to a new destination. He is convinced of the ideals of universal reason and that he will inevitably find the best of all worlds, but it is this conviction that has him traveling in circles until he finally settles down. The worlds that Candide visits are each of great importance to his development. He starts out by sailing from Europe to escape those who are angry that he slew the evil Grand Inquisitor and the Jew. “All will be well,” [says] Candide; “the sea of this new world is already better than our European sea; it’s calmer, the winds more regular. It is certainly the New World which is best of all possible worlds. (34)” He states this to his fair Cunegonde as they are on the way to South America on the wide open sea. He loses his fair Cunegonde, however, and enters the forest on the way to El Dorado. The forest is a place of mystery for...
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