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The protagonist of the novel is Candide. It is presumed that he is the son of the Baronís sister who has refused to marry his father because she considers his lineage inferior to hers. He is kicked out of the castle because he and Cunégonde love each other. After that he goes through a series of adventures. He thereby learns about the various aspects of life. Throughout the novel his aim is to find and marry Cunégonde. He finally succeeds. He matures from an innocent boy to an experienced and practical person.
There are many antagonists in this novel. In the first chapter the reader encounters the Baron and his son. The Baron kicks out Candide from his castle when he sees that Candide and Cunégonde are in love. Later, the Baronís son tries to prevent Candide from marrying Cunégonde regardless of their immense love for each other. Don Fernando, the governor of Buenos Ayres proposes to Cunégonde. Then he keeps her as his mistress and sells her to Cacambo for two million. Pangloss who poses to be a very intelligent man deludes innocent people with his foolish fantasies of optimism. Thus he plays an antagonistic role to that extent. Numerous other people who cause murder, rape, castration, slave trade, and prostitution are very harmful to the welfare of the society. They too are antagonists.
The climax is reached in Chapter 29 of the novel when Candide finds Cunégonde for the last time. She is ugly and no longer desirable. She is keen that Candide should marry her. The Baron vehemently opposes the marriage. Candide is equally adamant. He says that he must do his duty to protect her. He is determined to marry her though he no longer desires her.
The outcome is the realization of reality. Candide and most of his colleagues realize at the end of the novel that life is neither all pleasant nor all bad. Candide realizes the shallowness of Panglossís philosophy. He now believes that one can be reasonably happy and comfortable through hardwork and honesty. They thus decide to cultivate their own garden on the farm, which Candide has bought. They all work and take responsibility. They realize that there is still hope for a peaceful life. Work drives away three great evils - boredom, vice and poverty.