Candide lives in the country home of the influential Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh in Westphalia. We’d like to take this opportunity to give major props to Voltaire for creative names.
Candide is the illegitimate son of the Baron’s sister.
Candide’s mother refused to marry his father because his lineage could not be traced back sufficiently far.
The daughter of the Baron and Baroness is a beauty named Cunégonde, who, by our calculations, is Candide’s cousin. Apparently, people didn’t really care about that stuff back then.
Candide is tutored by Pangloss, a scholar of metaphysico-theologo-cosmolo-nigology. Pangloss teaches that in the best of all possible worlds, everything is ultimately for the best, and that every effect has a cause.
One evening, Cunégonde and Candide meet behind a screen when leaving the dinner table. Cunégonde drops her napkin and Candide picks it up for her.
They share a kiss before Cunégonde’s father catches them and flips out. He banishes Candide.