Candide

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O che sciagὺra d'essere scenza coglioni!

Perhaps the most famous work of Voltaire, Candide is a biting Satire of the then-popular view that we live in the best of all possible worlds. So you can guess what happens from that.

Candide is the story of Candide, the (possible) bastard nephew of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh, and his attempts to marry Cunégonde, the baron's daughter. After attempting to "explore cause and effect" with her, the Baron kicks Candide out of his castle. What follows could only be explained by the fact that Voltaire had an interesting sense of humor and a rather strong philosophical disagreement with one Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz.

After being drafted into the Bulgar army based solely on his height, Candide meets his philosophy professor Dr. Pangloss, who has been stricken with syphilis that he got from a woman working for the Baron [1], is shipwrecked at Lisbon, kills two priests and a Jew, meets a woman who is missing half a buttock due to cannibalism, goes to the legendary city El Dorado where gold is the same as dirt, meets someone who assures Candide that the chief occupations of every city, in order of importance, are "love-making, malicious gossip and talking nonsense," goes to Constantinople, and gardens. Along the way he meets many other figures from his previous life, including Cunégonde, who have all gotten into increasingly ridiculous predicaments and escaped them anyway, to join forces with him later.

For those who don't speak Italian, the above quote means "Oh, what a misfortune to be without testicles!" And yes, it is in the book, though the last word may or may not be censored into a single 'C' and ellipsis.

Tropes used in Candide include:

Three Inquisitors: Are our methods legal or illegal?
Basses: Legal!
Three Inquisitors: Are we judges of the law, or laymen?
Basses: Amen.
Three Inquisitors: Shall we hang them or forget them?
Basses: Get them!

  1. that she got from a cavalry captain who got it from a marquise, who got it from a page, who got it from a Jesuit, who got it from a man who had gotten it directly from Christopher Columbus himself