Candide begins in the German town of Westphalia, where Candide, a young man, lives in the castle of Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh. A noted philosopher, Doctor Pangloss, tutors the baron on philosophical optimism, the idea that "all is for the best . . . in this best of all worlds." Candide, a simple man, first accepts this philosophy, but as he experiences the horrors of war, poverty, the maliciousness of man, and the hypocrisy of the church, he begins to doubt the voracity of Pangloss's theory. Thus, philosophical optimism is the focus of Votaire's satire; anti-war and anti-church refrains also run throughout the novel.
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