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The Age of Agony

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The Age of Agony

Helen Keller once said, "all the world is suffering. It is also full of overcoming" (Brainy Quote). Everywhere in the world has some form of suffering, but all the suffering could be resolved by overcoming the obstacles in life. Helen Keller was both blind and deaf since the age of 19 months, and had been struggling to live peacefully her whole life. Although she may have been miserable, she overcame her struggle and accepted that it was a part of her life. Even though Helen Keller was an optimist and Voltaire was a pessimist, this quote still relates to Candide. Every place Candide visited, he encountered some form of suffering, however he continued on his journey to regain Cunégonde's love. Throughout Candide's quest he sees corruption in the church, government, and people. The corruption of these people leads to suffering in Candide's life.

The Oxford Dictionary defines Corruption as dishonest, especially using bribery as well as being immoral or wicked. The church has set rules for what the people of the church must act upon; however, the leaders of the church in Candide do not abide by the rules of the church. The leaders are no longer serving God or the people, but rather they are running everything for their own personal gain. "Don Issachar, who is the Court Banker and therefore a man of some standing, would not hear of the proposition, until the Inquisitor threatened him with an auto-da-fé" (Voltaire 42). The reason the Inquisitor felt it was necessary to threaten Don Issachar was because he was attracted to Cunégonde, who at the time belonged to Don Issachar, which is not allowed, but he still ends up part owner of Cunégonde. The Grand Inquisitor has a big influence in the church; therefore whatever he does the people are sure to follow. Just like the Inquisitor, the friar showed people a bad example of following the church laws. By not following these rules, it later leads to him being hanged for stealing. "I strongly suspect that revered friar who slept at the same inn with us yesterday at Badajoz" (Voltaire 47). The old woman suspected the friar stole Cunégonde's jewels and her assumption was correct. This shows that the Friar is robbing and by doing this he is breaking one of the 10 commandments the Church implies. Both the friar and the Inquisitor have set bad examples in the church for the people following them, Both these characters are religious leaders, and were consequently portrayed as negative, deceitful, and hypocritical

In the novel Candide, there are many wars happening in the places where Candide visits. After Candide was kicked out the castle he joined the Bulgar army unwillingly. As soon as he got the chance, he escaped the bloody and disturbing war. As Candide walked around where the war had happened, he noticed many hurt and dead people lying on the ground. There were men crippled with wounds watching helplessly at the death throes of their butchered women-folk, who still held their children to their bloodstained breasts. Girls who had satisfied the appetites of several heroes lay disemboweled in their last agonies. Others, whose bodies were badly scorched, begged to be put out of their misery (Voltaire 25-26). The Bulgars and Abars had been fighting and had hurt and killed many innocent people. This is because

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