First published: Zadig: Ou, La Destinée, histoire orientale, 1748 (English translation, 1749)
Plot: Social satire
Time: Remote antiquity
Zadig (zah-DEEG), a wealthy young man. Educated and sensible, he rises to the position of prime minister of Babylon, only to be forced to flee after his supposed affair with Queen Astarte. Enslaved by the Egyptians, he serves Setoc and then King Nabussan. Finally, he finds Astarte and rescues her from Ogul. In a tournament of wits and arms, he wins Astarte as his bride. He rules Babylon justly and compassionately.
Astarte (ah-stahr-TAY), the queen of Babylon. After Zadig flees, she also escapes, with Cador's aid. She is captured by the Prince of Hyrcania, escapes from him, is captured by Arbogad, and is sold to Ogul. Zadig rescues her and then wins her hand.
Moabdar (moh-ahb-DAHR), the king of Babylon. Suspicious that Zadig and Astarte are lovers, he forces Zadig to flee. When Astarte also escapes, he marries Missouf. Later, he goes mad and is killed in a revolt.
Cador (kah-DOHR), Zadig's best friend, who helps Astarte escape.
Jesrad (zhehs-RAHD), an angel who helps Zadig.
Itobad (ee-toh-BAHD), an evil lord, Zadig's rival for Astarte's hand.
Semire (say-MEER), Zadig's first betrothed. He loses an eye while rescuing her from kidnappers. She then refuses to marry a one-eyed man.
Hermes (ehr-MEHS), the doctor who predicts that Zadig's eye cannot heal.
Orcan (ohr-KAHN), the noble who marries Semire.
Azora (ah-zoh-RAH), Zadig's first wife, who becomes too difficult to live with.
Arimaze (ah-ree-MAHZ), called The Envious, Zadig's enemy.
Missouf (mee-SEWF), an Egyptian woman whose lover is killed by Zadig. She marries King Moabdar.
Setoc (say-TOHK), Zadig's Arabian master.
Almona (ahl-moh-NAH), a widow, later Setoc's wife.
Nabussan (nah-bews-SAN), the king of Serendib, who has only one faithful wife out of one hundred.
Arbogad (ahr-boh-GAHD), a happy brigand who sells Astarte to Ogul.
Ogul (oh-GEWL), a voluptuary cured by Zadig.