Zadig, or Fate
Devoting his story to the Marquise de Pompadour, which Voltaire calls the Sultan of Sheraa, the writer himself appears under the name of the poet Saadi, a classic of oriental literature. In the work the author uses elements so popular in the XVIII century. genre of travel, as well as fiction of Persian and Arabian fairy tales.
In the time of King Moabdar lived in Babylon a young man named Zadig. He was noble, wise, rich, had a pleasant appearance and hoped for the favor of fate. The day of his marriage to Zemir, who was considered the first bride in all of Babylon, was already appointed. But Orcan, the nephew of one of the ministers, in love with Zemir, orders the servants to abduct her. Zadig saves the girl, while he is seriously injured and, according to the doctor, he will be blinded. Learning that Zemira was married to Orcan, contemptuously declaring that she could not stand the blind, the poor young man fell unconscious. He was ill for a long time, but the doctor’s prediction, fortunately, did not come true. Convinced of the impermanence of a girl brought up at court, Zadig decides to marry a “common citizen”. Azora is his new chosen one, for which an amusing trial is prepared. Cador, a friend of Zadig, reports Azora, absent from the house for several days, that her husband suddenly died and bequeathed him most of his wealth. But the Kadora is tormented by severe pains, and there is only one medicine –
Consolation from the destinies sent to him by destiny Zadig seeks in philosophy and friendship. In the morning his library is open to all scientists, and in the evening the elected society gathers. Opposite the home of the young man, there lives a certain Arimaz, a bilious and pompous envious person. He was annoyed by the knock of the chariots of the guests, who were coming to Zadig, and the praise was irritated even more. Once he finds in the garden an excerpt of a poem composed by Zadig, in which the king is insulted. Arimaz runs to the palace and informs the young man. The king is angry and intends to execute the insolent, but the young man speaks so elegantly, cleverly and sensibly, that the lord changes his anger to mercy, gradually begins to consult with him in all his affairs, and, having lost his first minister, appoints Zadig in his place. His name roars throughout the state, citizens praise his justice and admire his talents. Unbeknownst to the youth and grace of the first minister made a strong impression on Queen Astarte. She is beautiful, intelligent, and her friendly disposition, tender speeches and gazes, directed against Zadig, ignited a flame in his heart. All the king’s slaves spied on their masters and soon they guessed that Astarte was in love, and Moabdar was jealous. The envious of Arimazus forced his wife to send to the king her garter, similar to the garter of the queen. The indignant monarch decided to poison Astarte at night, and at the dawn to strangle Zadig. Order on this, he gives the eunuch. At this time in the king’s room is a dumb but not without hearing dwarf, which is very attached to the queen. He was horrified to hear about the planned murder and painted a cunning plan on paper. The figure gets to the queen, she warns Zadig and tells him to run. The young man goes to Egypt. Already approaching the borders of Egypt, he sees a man who is violently beating some woman. Zadig stands up for the defenseless and saves her, wounding the abuser. But the unexpectedly appeared messengers from Babylon take the Egyptian with them. Our hero is lost in conjecture. Meanwhile, according to the Egyptian laws, a man who sheds the blood of his neighbor becomes a slave. And Zadig at a public auction buys an Arab merchant Sedok. Having convinced himself of the remarkable abilities of his new slave, the merchant soon acquires a close friend in his face. Like the king of Babylon, he can not do without him. And the young man is happy that Setok does not have a wife. Meanwhile, according to the Egyptian laws, a man who sheds the blood of his neighbor becomes a slave. And Zadig at a public auction buys an Arab merchant Sedok. Having convinced himself of the remarkable abilities of his new slave, the merchant soon acquires a close friend in his face. Like the king of Babylon, he can not do without him. And the young man is happy that Setok does not have a wife. Meanwhile, according to the Egyptian laws, a man who sheds the blood of his neighbor becomes a slave. And Zadig at a public auction buys an Arab merchant Sedok. Having convinced himself of the remarkable abilities of his new slave, the merchant soon acquires a close friend in his face. Like the king of Babylon, he can not do without him. And the young man is happy that Setok does not have a wife.
One day, Zadig learns of the terrible custom adopted in Arabia, where he finds himself with his new master. When a married man was dying, and his wife wished to become a saint, she publicly burned herself on the corpse of her husband. This day was a solemn holiday and was called the “fire of widowhood.” Zadig went to the leaders of the tribe and persuaded them to issue a law permitting widows to burn themselves only after they talked privately to some young man. Since then, no woman has burned herself. The priests took up arms against the young man: abrogating this law, he deprived them of their profits, since after the death of the widows all their valuables were taken to the priests.
All this time Zadig does not leave worrying thoughts about Astarte. From the Arab robber Arbogada, he learns that in Babylon there is turmoil, Moabdar is killed, Astarte if alive, then, most likely, fell into the concubines to the Hyrcan prince. The young man continues his journey and meets a group of slaves, among whom the Babylonian queen discovers. There is no limit to the joy of lovers. Astarte tells us what she had to endure. The faithful Cador the same night, when Zadig disappeared, hid it in a temple inside a colossal statue. The king, suddenly hearing the voice of Astarte from the statue, lost his mind. His insanity was the beginning of trouble. Astarte robber Arbogad captured and sold to merchants, so she was in slaves. Zadig, due to his ingenuity, takes Astarte away.
The queen was greeted with delight in Babylon, the country became calmer and the Babylonians announced that Astarte would marry someone whom they would choose to be king, and this would be the bravest and wisest of the candidates. Each of the claimants to the throne will have to endure four spearfights, and then unravel the riddles offered by the magicians. The armor of Zadig is white, and the white king wins the first horizontal bar with brilliance. Opponent Zadig, Itobad, at night deceitfully grabs his armor, leaving his Zadig, green. In the morning in the arena of dressed in green armor Zadig showered with insulting ridicule. The young man is confused, he is ready to believe that the world is ruled by cruel fate. Wandering along the bank of the Euphrates, full of despair, he meets an angel who gives him hope, insists on his return to Babylon and the continuation of the competitions. Zadig easily unravels all the riddles of the wise men and under the joyful rumble of the crowd reports that Itobod stole his armor. The young man is ready to show his courage to all at once. And this time he is the winner. Zadig becomes tsar, the spouse of Astarte, and he is infinitely happy.
The nets are called from Arabia and placed at the head of the trade department of Babylon. A faithful friend Cador was awarded on merit. A small dumb dwarf is also not forgotten. Zemira could not forgive herself for believing in the future blindness of Zadig, and Azora did not cease to repent of her intention to cut off his nose. The state enjoyed peace, glory and abundance, for justice and love reigned in it.