Throughout Candide the author, Voltaire, demonstrates the characters experiences in a cruel world and his fight to gain happiness. In the beginning Candide expects to achieve happiness without working for his goal and only taking the easy way out of all situations. However, by the end of the book the character realized that to achieve happiness a lot of work, compromises, and sacrifices are necessary. Candide is a person of privilege who began life in the Castle of Westphalia.
While a part of the castle-life, Candide was taught by Dr. Pangloss. Pangloss is a philosopher who teaches there is a cause for all things and that everything is all for the good, even though a person may not understand it at the time. Suddenly, however, Candide is exiled from the privileged confines of the castle when he is caught kissing Cunegonde, the daughter of the Baron. Upon his exile Candide immediately begins to face adversities. Candide finds himself in the army simply because he is the right size. His life in the army is nothing but turmoil and hardship.
Despite the misfortunes of army life, Candide continues to believe there is a cause and effect for all things. After leaving the army, Candide once again is paired with his mentor Dr. Pangloss. Pangloss is now a diseased beggar. Pangloss is soon cured of his disease and he and Candide are befriended by a charitable Anabaptist. Candides life continues, however, to be full of misfortune. Candide believes that if he could once again find his true love, Cunegonde, he could be happy and fulfilled.
When he does meet Cunegonde life does not become any easier or richer. At this reunion, Candide does begin to take his lifes matters into his own hands. His first attempt at this accomplishment is shown when he kills Cunegondes rapists. Though life does not become any easier, at this point Candide begins to grow from a nave young person into a grown realist. Cunegonde suddenly leaves Candide for a wealthy man. The mans wealth, however, proves not to bring happiness to either Cunegonde or Candide. Candide realizes he must take responsibility for his life.
He must accept situations and try to change obstacles that may be hindrances. Candide learns that labor will eliminate the three curses of mankind: want, boredom, and vice. Candide realizes he must build his own life, however simple it may be. When meeting a man that is happy with a simple garden to tend and a family to love, Candide realizes life does not have to be full of wealth in order to be happy. He realizes that everything in life is not evil, especially when a person strives to make changes and not simply accept what comes their way.
A reader of Candide should realize how accepting a situation and not trying to charge or overcome its obstacles is only harmful. If a person does not attempt to change a bad situation, then that person should be complain about the outcome. A person should take responsibility and attempt to change what he perceives as a problem. Throughout all of his ordeals and hardships, Candide struggles to understand Panglosss teachings that everything happens for a reason. Candide finally realizes that he must try to make his own happiness even while battling hardships.
Candides happiness is finally realized when he too becomes a man of simple means with a garden to tend and a loved one at his side. By Candides ordeals and his final happiness and contentment, the reader should realize that life is full of difficulties but those difficulties will not go away if people do nothing to make a change. If a person chooses to be passive and reject their responsibility in life then that person becomes a victim. No person enjoys being a victim. Each member of the world must accept their responsibility to find their own happiness in society.