Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Candide: Or, All for the Best is Voltaire’s most widely known work and one of the most widely read pieces of literature written in the French language. Voltaire invented the philosophical tale as a means to convey his own ideas and, at the same time, entertain his readers with satirical wit and ironic innuendo. Candide (the name refers to purity and frankness) is the tale’s main character. He embodies the philosophical idea of optimism that Voltaire intends to oppose.
As the story begins, Candide is forced to leave Wesphalia because he has been caught kissing the baron’s daughter, the beautiful Cunegonde. Candide is driven from the splendid castle of the Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh, where Doctor Pangloss has been Candide’s tutor and has taught him that all is well in this “best of all possible worlds.” Little time passes before the naïve Candide finds himself conscripted into the Bulgarian army. As a soldier, he witnesses firsthand the terrible atrocities of war. Escaping to Holland, he miraculously encounters Pangloss, who is himself in a pitiful physical state. From the ever-optimistic philosopher, Candide learns that his former home in Germany has been burned to the ground and that all of those inside have been massacred by the advancing Bulgarian army.
Voltaire continues to narrate his story with a cascade of adventures. He nonetheless keeps close to the principal reason for telling his tale: discrediting the...
(The entire section is 815 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Candide Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Candide, the illegitimate son of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh’s sister, is born in Westphalia. Dr. Pangloss, his tutor and a devout follower of Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz, teaches him metaphysico-theologo-cosmolonigology and assures his pupil that this is the best of all possible worlds. Cunegonde, the daughter of the baron, kisses Candide one day behind a screen, whereupon Candide is expelled from the noble baron’s household.
Impressed into the army of the king of Bulgaria, Candide deserts during a battle between the king of Bulgaria and the king of Abares. Later, he is befriended by James the Anabaptist. He also meets his old friend, Dr. Pangloss, now a beggar. James, Pangloss, and Candide start for Lisbon. Their ship is wrecked in a storm off the coast of Portugal. James is drowned, but Candide and Pangloss swim to shore just as an earthquake shakes the city. The rulers of Lisbon, both secular and religious, decide to punish the people whose wickedness brings about the earthquake, and Candide and Pangloss are among the accused. Pangloss is hanged, and Candide is thoroughly whipped.
He is still smarting from his wounds when an old woman accosts Candide and tells him to have courage and to follow her. She leads him to a house where he is fed and clothed. Then Cunegonde appears. Candide is amazed because Pangloss told him that Cunegonde is dead. Cunegonde relates what happened to her since she last saw Candide. She is being kept by a Jew...
(The entire section is 782 words.)
Candide is a youth brought up in the house of the Baron of Westphalia. Driven out of the house after he falls innocently in love with the Baron's daughter, he undergoes many adventures in various places in Europe and the New World. The story documents this journey.
(The entire section is 47 words.)
Voltaire's Candide opens by introducing the honest youth, Candide, a servant in Westphalia to Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh, who may be Candide's uncle. Candide loves the Baron's daughter, Cunégonde, and is the avid student of Pangloss, a philosopher who continuously "proves" Leibniz's belief that this is "the best of all possible worlds." Candide is expelled from Westphalia when the Baron catches him in a romantic embrace with Cunégonde.
Two seemingly friendly men rescue the cold, hungry Candide, then force him to become a soldier for the Bulgars. After being caught leaving the army camp, Candide receives two thousand whiplashes. Before his punishers can grant his request to be killed, however, the Bulgar King passes by and pardons him.
The Bulgar army engages in a terrible battle with the Abar army. Candide wanders through burned towns with butchered people to reach Holland, where he is treated rudely until he meets Jacques, an Anabaptist. Jacques kindly cares for Candide, who soon discovers a beggar with a rotted nose. It is Pangloss, who caught syphilis from the Baron's servant, Paquette. Pangloss tells Candide that Cunégonde was ravished by Bulgar soldiers, then killed. Jacques has Pangloss cured and the three men travel by ship to Lisbon.
When the ship is struck by a storm, Jacques helps a sailor back into the tossed ship but is thrown overboard himself. Candide wants to try to save him, but Pangloss dissuades him....
(The entire section is 1296 words.)
Chapter 1 Summary
“How Candide was raised in a fine castle, and how he was chased from it”
Westphalia is the home of Baron Thunder-Ten-Tronckh. In the baron’s castle lives a young boy who has the sweetest disposition, and his face mirrors the beauty of his soul. The boy has a simple mind and his judgment is rather straightforward. This is why he was named Candide. The oldest castle servants suspect that Candide is the son of the baron’s sister and a man who was not noble enough for her to marry.
The baron is one of the most powerful lords in all of Westphalia because his castle has windows and a door and his great hall has one tapestry hanging in it. When the need to hunt arises, all the baron’s dogs are gathered from his farmyards. His grooms become the hunting whips and the village vicar serves as his personal alms-giver. Everyone laughs at the baron’s stories and calls him “Your Grace.”
The baroness weighs three hundred and fifty pounds, which makes her a person of “considerable importance,” and she performs her household duties with such dignity that she is respected even more. Cunégonde is her seventeen-year-old daughter, and she is “fresh, fat, and piquant.” The baron’s son seems worthy of him in every way. The oracle of the castle is Pangloss, the tutor. Candide does his best to follow his tutor’s teachings.
Pangloss teaches “metaphysico-theologo-cosmo-idiotology.” He is able to prove that there is no effect without a cause and that this is the best of all possible worlds and that the baron’s castle is the finest of all castles and the baroness the finest of all baronesses. Pangloss teaches that it has been proven that things can never be anything but what they are and everything has been made for a purpose; therefore everything has been made for the best purpose. Because noses were created to support glasses, glasses were invented. Legs were created so people could wear pants, thus pants were invented. Stones were made to be quarried and used to build castles; therefore the baron has a magnificent castle. Since pigs were made for eating, people can eat pork all the time. As a consequence, people who claim that all is well are speaking nonsense. What they should say is that “all is best.”
Candide listens to and believes what his tutor says, for he thinks Mademoiselle Cunégonde is quite beautiful (though he has never had the courage to...
(The entire section is 695 words.)
Chapter 2 Summary
“What happened to Candide among the Bulgars”
Once he was forced to leave the happiest place he has ever known, Candide spends his time wandering, weeping, and looking back at the most beautiful castle which housed the most beautiful baroness. He falls asleep without any dinner between two furrows of a field, and during the night, large flakes of snow fall on him. In the morning, a frozen, penniless, hungry, and exhausted Candide drags himself to the neighboring town of Valdberghoff-Trarbk-Dikdorff and stops outside a tavern door.
Two men dressed in blue take note of him, and one of them remarks to the other that Candide is a young man who is the right height. The two men politely approach Candide and ask him to dine with them. In his own charming and modest way, Candide thanks the gentlemen for their offer but says he has no money with which to buy his meal. One of the men says that a fine young man of his “build and merit” should not have to pay for anything.
He asks Candide if he is five feet six inches tall and Candide affirms, with a bow, that he is. In that case, the men will not only feed him, but they think it is a shame that such a fine young man has no money at all. They tell him men were made to help one another; Candide agrees, saying that is exactly what Pangloss teaches. Now Candide can see that, indeed, everything is for the best.
The men beg Candide to take a few coins from them; he does, and then he starts to write an IOU. The men will have none of it and they all sit down to dinner. One of the men wonders if Candide is a dedicated follower of the King of the Bulgars, but Candide has never heard of this king. That is quite surprising news to the men, and they explain that he is the most charming king and insist that Candide must drink to the king’s health.
Candide is glad to toast their king; after they do, the men announce that he has just enlisted in the king’s army, promising to defend him and be a hero (soldier) of the Bulgars. Surely Candide will bring great honor to himself as a soldier; his fortune will be made and his glory will be assured. Immediately they put shackles on Candide’s feet and he is taken to the regiment. There he is forced to march, present arms, fire, and march double pace, but he is not very good at any of these things and receives thirty strokes of the rod.
The next day Candide is put through the same...
(The entire section is 796 words.)
Chapter 3 Summary
“How Candide escaped from among the Bulgars, and what became of him”
The two armies are stunning in every way, and the noise of the trumpets, fifes, oboes, drums, and cannons create a magnificent harmony. First, the cannons kill six thousand men on each side; then musket shots kill nine or ten thousand “rogues infecting its surface.” The bayonets dispose of several thousand more, for a total of nearly thirty thousand men in this best of all possible worlds. A trembling Candide does what any philosopher would do—he hides as best as he can as the “heroic butchery” goes on around him.
At the end of the day, while the two kings have a hymn sung over the dead, Candide decides to leave so he can think more about causes and effects. After climbing over heaps of dead bodies, he arrives at a neighboring village which is now in ashes; the Bulgars burned it to the ground in accordance with international law. The old men are covered with wounds and watching their butchered wives die, “clasping their infants to their bleeding breasts.” Girls who were disemboweled after being raped by the soldiers are now dying, and those covered in burns are begging to be relieved of their misery. Brains, arms, and legs are scattered on the ground, as well. Candide leaves as quickly as he can and goes to another village.
This village belonged to the Bulgars, and it is in much the same condition as the last one. Working his way through dead or dying bodies and rubble, Candide gathers a few provisions in his bag and finally flees the theater of war. In all of his travels, he never forgets Cunégonde and her beautiful eyes. His provisions are gone by the time he reaches Holland; however, he has heard that everyone in Holland is rich and Christian, so he has no doubt that he will be treated as well as he was at the baron’s castle.
Candide asks for help from several serious-looking people who warn him that if he continues begging he will be put in prison where he will be taught how to make a living. The next man he approaches has just given an hour-long speech on the topic of charity. The black-cloaked speaker looks at Candide warily and asks if he has come here for the “Good Cause.” Of course Candide replies what he has learned: that there is no effect without a cause and all is designed for the best. It is all part of an arranged plan for his good that he was forced to leave Cunégonde, run...
(The entire section is 698 words.)
Chapter 4 Summary
“How Candide met his old philosophy tutor Doctor Pangloss and what followed”
Candide is moved more by compassion than horror at the sight of this repulsive beggar and gives him the coins he was gifted. The disgusting creature stares at Candide before erupting into tears and flinging himself on the young man’s neck. When Candide draws back, the beggar asks if Candide does not recognize him, his own tutor Pangloss.
Candide cannot believe this repugnant man is really Pangloss and asks what terrible thing has happened to cause him to be in this condition. He asks why Pangloss is no longer in the finest of all castles and what has become of Cunégonde, a true “masterpiece of nature.” Pangloss does not even have the strength to speak, so Candide takes him to Jacques’ barn and gives him a bit of bread. Once he has recovered, Pangloss finally answers: Cunégonde is dead.
At the word, Candide faints and Pangloss eventually revives him. When Candide opens his eyes, he asks where the best of all possible worlds has gone and what illness killed his lovely Cunégonde—or perhaps she died of grief after Candide was forced to leave the castle. Neither, says Pangloss.
Cunégonde was disemboweled by Bulgar soldiers after she was “raped as much as one can be.” The baron tried to defend her, but the soldiers bashed his head in and hacked the baroness to pieces. Their son, the young baron, met the same fate as his sister. Not one stone of the castle is left standing; the barn, animals, and trees on the property are gone, as well. They were “well avenged,” however, since the Bulgars did exactly the same thing to a neighboring barony which belonged to a Bulgar nobleman.
Candide faints again. Once he recovers, Candide asks Pangloss how he came to be in this pitiful condition. Pangloss tells him it was wonderful, tender love. Candide says he has known such love, but all it ever got him was a few kisses and twenty kicks to his backside; he wonders how love has done such an abominable thing to the philosopher. Pangloss explains.
He used to love (and have sex with) the baroness’s pretty maid, but she was infected by, and transmitted to him, a disease which killed her. She got the disease from a very learned Franciscan who took great pains to track the disease to its original source. He got it from an old countess who got it from a cavalry captain who got it from...
(The entire section is 804 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
“Storm, shipwreck, earthquake, and what became of Doctor Pangloss, Candide, and Jacques the Anabaptist”
Half of the passengers are weakened and dying from the agonies of a ship rolling mercilessly at sea and are not even able to worry about the danger they are in; the other half wail and pray. The ship is broken and tattered. Some try to help, but no one is in charge or knows what to do. Jacques is on deck trying to steer the ship and is knocked to the ground by a punch from a frenzied sailor. But the power of the blow jolts the sailor enough that he falls overboard and is caught and suspended by a broken piece of the mast. Jacques recovers and rescues the man but falls into the sea while doing so, and the sailor lets him drown without even a glance.
Candide sees Jacques bob to the surface once before being swallowed up by the waves forever and wants to go save him. Pangloss does not allow him to do so by explaining that Lisbon’s harbor has been created purposefully for Jacques to drown. As he explains this philosophy, the ship breaks apart and everyone dies but the two of them and the sailor Jacques rescued. The sailor blithely swims to shore while Pangloss and Candide float ashore on a plank.
After the three recover and the storm wanes, they walk to Lisbon. They still have a few coins left in their pockets so they can buy food. As they walk, the earth begins to shake, and whirls of fire and ash cover everything. Houses and buildings everywhere collapse, and thirty thousand inhabitants of Lisbon are crushed by the rubble of an earthquake. The sailor anticipates everything he might gain, financially, in this tragedy; but Pangloss wonders what the “sufficient reason for this phenomenon” might be and Candide exclaims that this is the end of the world.
The sailor risks his life digging through the rubble for money. He finds a decent amount, drinks until he is drunk, and buys the favors of a prostitute he finds among the dead and dying. All the while, Pangloss tugs at the sailor’s arm and tells him he is not using his universal reason or making wise use of his time. The sailor claims he has traveled the world and trampled on the crucifix more than once; he is the wrong person to be lectured to about universal reason.
Candide, meanwhile, is wounded in the earthquake and is now lying in the street, covered with debris. He begs Pangloss to bring him some wine and oil...
(The entire section is 697 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
“How an auto-de-fé was held in order to hinder future earthquakes, and how Candide’s buttocks were flogged”
The earthquakes destroyed three fourths of Lisbon, and the wise men of the city determine that the only effective way to prevent total ruin is to give the people an auto-de-fé. The University of Coimbra, after studying the situation, concludes that burning a few people over a slow fire in a public ceremony is exactly what is needed to infallibly prevent more quaking of the earth.
To that end, authorities seize a Biscayan prisoner who had been convicted of marrying his godchild’s mother and two Portuguese men being held because they refused to eat bacon and thus were probably Jews. After the dinner, Candide and Pangloss are put in chains: one for speaking and one for listening with apparent approval. They are all lead to separate cells which are quite cold and devoid of sunlight.
A week later all the prisoners are clothed in sanbenitos (made of sackcloth) and given paper miters to don on their heads. On Candide’s clothing are painted flames, all pointing downward, and devils without tails or talons. Pangloss’s devils have both tails and talons, and his flames all point upward. The men march in procession and then listen to a moving sermon followed by some glorious chants. During the singing, Candide’s buttocks are flogged to the beat of the music. Then, the Biscayan and the two who refused to eat bacon are burned, and Pangloss is hung, though hanging is quite against the custom. That day, the earth shook once again with a terrifying rumble.
Candide is shocked, amazed, and hysterical; he is also bleeding everywhere and shivering. He wonders what other worlds must be like if this is the best of all possible worlds. Candide thinks being flogged might be acceptable; after all, he had been flogged before by the Bulgars. But what happened to Pangloss, the greatest of all philosophers, is beyond enduring. He wonders why he had to see his beloved tutor hung without knowing why, and he mourns again the loss of the kind Anabaptist, Jacques. Finally he grieves the loss of his beloved Cunégonde, wondering if her stomach really had to be slashed open before she died.
As Candide leaves the scene, he is barely able to stand upright after having been “sermonized, flogged, absolved, and blessed.” An old woman stops him and tells him to take courage and...
(The entire section is 414 words.)
Chapter 7 Summary
“How an old woman took care of Candide, and how he found again what he loved”
The old woman had told Candide to take courage, but he does not. He does, however, follow the woman to a small cottage. She gives him a jar of ointment to put on his wounds and brings him something to eat and drink before leading him to a small, clean bed. Next to the bed is a full set of clothing. The old woman tells Candide to eat, drink, and sleep; and then she prays a blessing over him and says she will return tomorrow. He is still in shock at what has happened to him, but is moved by the woman’s charity toward a stranger and tries to kiss her hand. She tells him it is not her hand he ought to kiss and repeats that she will see him tomorrow. Despite his grievous woes, Candide does eat and sleep.
The next day, the old woman brings him breakfast, examines his back, and rubs more ointment on it. She brings him both lunch and dinner, and she repeats the ritual the next day, as well. All the while, Candide asks the woman who she is, why she is helping him, and how he can repay her for her kindness. The woman remains silent. That evening she returns but does not bring him any dinner.
She takes his arm and tells him to come with her; he is not to speak. She leads him more than a quarter of a mile out of town until they arrive at a secluded house nestled in gardens and canals. The old woman knocks on the door and the door opens. Candide follows her up a secret staircase and into a gilded bedroom. The woman leaves him sitting on a sumptuous couch as she closes the door behind her. Candide thinks he must be dreaming because until now his life has been a terrible nightmare, but this moment is a happy one.
Soon the old woman returns. She is propping up a trembling woman: statuesque, shimmering with precious stones, and covered with a veil. The old woman tells Candide to remove the veil. The young man timidly lifts the veil and is stunned to see what he wishes most to see—Mademoiselle Cunégonde. He cannot speak and simply falls at her feet; Cunégonde falls to the sofa. The old woman revives them both and they are finally able to speak. There are fragments of questions and answers, tears, sighs, and cries. After suggesting that they not make so much noise, the old woman finally leaves them.
Candide asks if it is really her and wonders if everything Pangloss told him about her was...
(The entire section is 603 words.)
Chapter 8 Summary
Cunégonde was asleep in her bed “when it pleased Heaven” to send the Bulgars to the castle of Thunder-Ten-Tronckh. The soldiers chopped the baron and baroness into pieces. A six-foot-tall Bulgar noticed that Cunégonde had lost consciousness at the sight of her parents’ murders and began to rape her. She suddenly regained consciousness and began to scream, bite, scratch, and struggle. In fact, she wished she could tear out the giant Bulgar’s eyes; she was unaware that everything that was happening in this castle was the “customary way of doing things.” The soldier stabbed her in the left side, and she still bears the mark. The naïve Candide says he hopes he will get to see her scar, and Cunégonde assures him he will before continuing her story.
A Bulgar captain came into her room and saw her covered with blood, but the soldier took no notice of him. Furious at this lack of respect, the captain immediately killed the soldier as he lay on top of Cunégonde. The captain had her wounds seen to and then took her to his quarters as a prisoner of war, where she laundered his shirts and cooked for him. The captain thought she was pretty, and Cunégonde admits she thought he was quite a handsome man with lovely white skin. Unfortunately, the captain was lacking in intellect and it was obvious to her that he had not been trained in the philosophy of Pangloss. After three months, he ran out of money and grew tired of Cunégonde, so he sold her to a Jew named Don Issacar.
Issacar was a trader in Holland and Portugal, and he loved women passionately. Though he desired Cunégonde, she refused to let him triumph over her. She resisted him better than the Bulgar soldier, for once an honorable woman has been raped, her honor grows stronger. When Issacar brought her to this house, Cunégonde realized that there was, indeed, a place more magnificent than the castle in which she was raised.
One day, the Grand Inquisitor noticed her at mass and sent for her. When Cunégonde arrived at his palace and told him of her heritage, he told her that belonging to an Israelite was far beneath her and sent an emissary to negotiate an arrangement whereby Issacar would cede Cunégonde to him. Issacar was a banker in the royal court and a man of great influence, and he refused the offer. After being threatened by His Eminence with an auto-de-fé, Issacar conceded and a...
(The entire section is 811 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
“What became of Cunégonde, Candide, the Grand Inquisitor, and a Jew”
Don Issacar is irate when he sees that Cunégonde is not alone when he arrives. He begins yelling at her, telling her that she is a harlot. Sharing her with an inquisitor is demeaning enough, and now he must also share her with “this rogue.” As he speaks, Issacar draws the long sword he always carries with him and throws himself at Candide, believing the younger man is unarmed. The old woman, however, had given Candide a fine sword along with his new clothes. Though he has a sweet disposition, Candide draws his sword and, in an instant, Issacar is lying on the tiles at Cunégonde’s feet.
The lady is distraught, worried that a man has been murdered in her house; she is sure that if the authorities come, they will all “be finished.” Candide is sorry that Pangloss is not here to give them good advice in this extreme circumstance, for he was always a grand philosopher. Since Pangloss is not here, Candide says they must consult the old woman.
The old woman is very wise and had just begun to give the young couple her opinion when another little door opens. It is an hour past midnight, an hour into Sunday, the inquisitor’s day to visit. His Imminence enters the room and this is what he sees: Candide, whom he had ordered to be flogged, with a sword in his hand; a dead man stretched out on the floor; a terrified Cunégonde; and an old woman giving advice.
Candide thinks many things at once, including the fact that if the Grand Inquisitor is allowed to call for help, he will certainly order that both Candide and Cunégonde be burned. This man is the one who ordered Candide’s pitiless flogging, so he is Candide’s enemy. Since Candide has already killed one man, he might as well kill another; but he must not hesitate. This is his reasoning, and he decides not to let the intruder recover from his surprise at seeing Candide here with Cunégonde. He drives his sword through the Grand Inquisitor and throws him on the floor next to Issacar.
Cunégonde is doubly upset, knowing they will never be forgiven for killing the leader of the Inquisition. They will be excommunicated and it is likely they will be killed, as well. She asks how a man born with such a gentle disposition could kill a Jew and a prelate—all within two minutes. Candide tells her that when a man is jealous and has been flogged by...
(The entire section is 596 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
“The distress in which Candide, Cunégonde, and the old woman arrive at Cádiz, and their embarkation”
Cunégonde is weeping, wondering who could have stolen her diamonds and money. Now they have nothing to live on, and she has no idea where she can find inquisitors or Jews who will give her more. The old woman suspects it was the Franciscan Father who was staying at the same inn as they did yesterday. She does not want to make a rash judgment against a man of God, but the holy man came into their room twice and left the inn long before they did.
Candide is sad, for Pangloss often proved that the material things of this world belong equally to all men; thus, every man has the same right to possess them. According to that principle, however, the Franciscan has as much right to their possessions as they do. Candide is only distraught because the man ought to have left them enough of their own goods to finish their journey. Now there is nothing at all left, not even a small copper.
As the young people bemoan their sorry state, the old woman suggests they sell one of the horses. She can ride sidesaddle, since she can only sit on one buttock, behind Cunégonde. A Benedictine prior who is staying at this inn buys the horse cheaply, and the three of them (on two horses) finally make their way to Cádiz.
When they arrive, troops are being assembled and a fleet is being equipped; the purpose of this military action is to “bring to reason” a reverend who is accused of inciting one of the tribes of Indians to revolt against the Kings of Spain and Portugal. Because Candide had experience in the military with the Bulgars, he is able to execute the Bulgar drills in front of the general with “such grace, speed, dexterity, pride, and agility” that he is named a captain and entrusted with his own infantry to command. Candide, Cunégonde, the old woman, two valets, and the two horses stolen from the Grand Inquisitor leave for battle.
As they travel, they consider Pangloss’s varied philosophies. Candide concludes that they are now traveling to another world; and it will be here, without question, that all will be well. They are forced to admit that the physical and moral things that are happening in this world can certainly give one cause for grumbling. Cunégonde vows that she loves Candide with all her heart, but she admits that her spirit is still shaken by...
(The entire section is 672 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
“The old woman’s story”
The old woman was not always in the physical condition she is in now, and she was not always a servant. She is the daughter of Pope Urban X and the Princess of Palestrina and, until she was fourteen, she was raised in a palace far finer than the stable of any Baron’s castle in Germany. Just one of her gowns was worth all the splendors of Westphalia. Her beauty, grace, and talents grew, and she was surrounded by “pleasures, deference, and expectations.” Her body grew beautiful in every way; the servants who dressed her were envious and every man wanted her.
She was betrothed to a prince as handsome as she was beautiful; he was charming, witty, and full of love for her. She loved with him with all the ardor of first love, and wedding preparations began. It was a glorious time of feasts, tournaments, and operas. The men of Italy were writing her sonnets (none of which were very good), and all happiness was within her reach. Then an old marquise who had been the prince’s lover invited him to eat some chocolate with her, and he died a horrible death within two hours. But that was not the worst.
The old woman’s mother was in despair over the prince’s death and wanted to escape her misery for a short time. They set sail in one of the grand, gilded ships of the principality, and on the sea they were overtaken by a corsair from Rome which overtook their vessel. The soldiers who were supposed to guard the women just fell to their knees, threw down their weapons, and begged for absolution before they died. Everyone on the ship was stripped naked and the attacking soldiers inspected their body cavities, a custom which seemed quite strange to the old woman. She did not know that it was “one of the laws of the rights of man that has always been adhered to,” a practice done by pirates to check for diamonds being carried in secret places.
The old woman and her mother endured awful things on the corsair vessel. Her virginity, which should have been given in love and tenderness to her handsome prince, was taken from her by the repulsive ship’s captain who somehow thought he was doing her a great honor. The journey was horrific, and when they got to Morocco both women were to be sold as slaves.
The city was in civil war when they arrived, and there was blood and carnage everywhere. As soon as they disembarked, a rival group of pirates in...
(The entire section is 732 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
“The continuation of the old woman’s misfortunes”
The old woman was surprised to hear her own language being spoken and even more surprised to hear the words the man spoke. She told him there are worse things than what he complained of and explained briefly the trials she had suffered before fainting. The man carried her to a nearby house where he cared for her and praised her beauty, again ruing his inability to function as a true man.
He explained that he was born in Naples where several thousand boys are castrated each year. Some die, some develop voices more beautiful than a woman’s, and some become politicians. This man became a great singer in the chapel of Her Highness the Princess of Palestrina. The old woman was stunned, as that was her mother’s chapel, and the man began to weep as he realized that she must be the young girl he tutored when she was six.
She told him everything that had happened to her and he shared his adventures. He had been sent to the Sultan of Morocco by a Christian nation in order to sign a treaty which would provide his king with gunpowder, cannons, and ships to help destroy the commerce of other Christian nations. The treaty has been signed, and the man was now preparing to return and offered to take her back to Italy. She wept with gratitude; however, the man took her to Algiers and sold her to the dey (governor) of the province.
The plague which had been sweeping through Africa, Asia, and Europe arrived in Algiers. The plague is much worse than an earthquake, and the old woman contracted it. It was a vile predicament for the daughter of a pope to, in only three months, endure poverty, slavery, being raped nearly every day, seeing her mother die, and hunger—only to be struck with the plague in Algiers. She did not die, but the eunuch and the dey both did, and almost the entire harem perished, as well.
After the first ravages of the plague passed, the dey’s slaves were sold. The old woman was bought by a trader who took her to Tunis where he sold her to another trader who resold her in Tripoli. In Tripoli she was sold as a slave to Smyrna and then to Constantinople where she became the property of an aga (commander) of the janissaries who soon had to lead his men in a battle against the Russians. The aga brought his harem with him, putting them in a safe position with twenty soldiers and two eunuchs to guard them.
(The entire section is 803 words.)
Chapter 13 Summary
“How Candide was forced to part with the fair Cunégonde and the old woman”
After hearing the old woman’s story, Cunégonde treats her with the deference due to a woman of her rank. She follows the old woman’s advice and asks every passenger traveling with them to tell them their stories. The old woman was right; everyone does have a story of woe to tell. Candide wishes Pangloss were here to tell them wonderful things about the physical and moral evil which exists on land and sea; if he were, Candide would have the courage to make some “respectful objections” to those who cannot see the good in their woes.
The ship continues as each passenger tells his tale. When they land in Buenos Aires, Cunégonde, Captain Candide, and the old woman visit the governor. His name is Don Fernando d’Ibarra y Figueroa y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza, and he has the pride befitting a man bearing so many names. He is so arrogant and haughty that people want to strike him as soon as they meet him. Don Fernando loves women passionately, and Cunégonde seems to him to be the most beautiful woman he has ever encountered. When he asks if she is the captain’s wife, Candide finds himself in a dilemma. He is too honest to lie and say that she is either his sister or his wife, though that might be more prudent.
Instead he tells the governor that Cunégonde is his fiancée and they would like him to preside over their marriage ceremony. Don Fernando “twirls his mustaches haughtily” and smiles grimly, ordering Captain Candide to go inspect his troops. Candide obeys, leaving Cunégonde alone with the governor. He expresses his passion for Cunégonde and announces that he will marry her tomorrow in a church or anywhere else she wishes. Cunégonde asks him for fifteen minutes to collect her thoughts and discuss the matter with the old woman before deciding anything.
The old woman reminds Cunégonde that though she has nobility in her blood, she does not have a cent to her name. She now has the opportunity to be the wife of South America’s greatest noblemen, a man with a splendid mustache. She asks Cunégonde if she is in any position to ignore such an opportunity and reminds her that “misfortunes bestow certain rights.” Cunégonde has been used by many men, and the old woman would not feel a bit guilty marrying the governor and ensuring Candide’s fortune and future.
As the old...
(The entire section is 663 words.)
Chapter 14 Summary
“How Candide and Cacambo were received by the Jesuits of Paraguay”
When Candide left Cadiz, he brought a valet with him. His name is Cacambo and he is of mixed heritage. Cacambo loves his master because he knows Candide is a truly good man. He saddles the Andalusian horses as quickly as he can and says they should flee without looking back. Candide is weeping bitterly, heartbroken that he was about to marry Cunégonde and now he will have to leave her. When he wonders what will become of her, the practical valet says Cunégonde will become whatever she can, as women “always find a way.”
Cunégonde asks where his valet is taking him, and Cacambo says they should go fight with the Jesuits instead of against them, as they had planned. He assures Candide they will be delighted to have a captain who knows how to drill the troops in the Bulgar way and he will therefore make a fortune. If one cannot get what one wants in this world, says Cacambo, one must get it in another—and it is always good to see and do new things.
Cacambo used to work in Paraguay and knows the government of Los Padres (the Jesuits) well. It is a remarkable thing. The government owns everything and the people own nothing; “it is a masterpiece of reason and justice.” Nothing is as satisfying to Cacambo as the fact that Los Padres is waging war against the kings of Spain and Portugal here in the Americas while in Europe they are the kings’ confessors. Here the Jesuits kill the Spaniards, but in Madrid they send them to Heaven. Los Padres will be most pleased to have Candide join them.
As soon as they reach the first outpost, Cacambo tells the soldiers that a captain wishes to speak to the Commandant. Word of the visitor is sent to headquarters, and a Paraguayan officer kneels at the commandant’s feet to deliver the news. Candide and Cacambo are disarmed and their horses are taken away from them before they walk through two columns of soldiers toward the commandant. As soon as they reach him, the leader nods and the two men are immediately surrounded by twenty-four soldiers and told they must wait. The commandant is not allowed to speak to them, as the Reverend Father Provincial does not allow anyone to speak to a Spaniard unless he is present. He also does not allow foreigners to stay in the country for more than three hours.
The Reverend Father Provincial is just finishing...
(The entire section is 690 words.)
Chapter 15 Summary
“How Candide killed the brother of his beloved Cunégonde”
The commandant will never forget the day the Bulgars raided his father’s castle and he saw his parents killed and his sister raped. When the Bulgars finally left the castle, Cunégonde was gone. The commandant was in a cart with other butchered bodies from the castle, including his parents’, and taken away to be buried in a Jesuit chapel. One of the Jesuits threw some holy water on the bodies; it was salty and it made the commandant’s eyes twitch. The Jesuit noticed the movement and rescued the boy. Within three weeks, the commandant was healed and had no trace of injury.
He was always a handsome boy and grew even more handsome over time; Reverend Father Croust began to feel a “tender friendship” for him and gave him the robes of a novice. Soon after, he was sent to Rome. The Jesuit fathers of Paraguay do not like to hire Spanish Jesuits, so a German Jesuit was in demand. He and two others soon started their journey to Paraguay, and upon his arrival the young baron was appointed a subdeaconship and a lieutenancy. Now he is a colonel and a priest and he and the others are preparing to battle the Spanish troops. They are glad to have Candide here to assist them.
Then, the commandant asks about Cunégonde, and they both weep again to think that she is so close to them. The young baron hugs Candide and says perhaps they will ride victoriously together into Buenos Aires and reclaim Cunégonde. When Candide says that it his dearest wish and he will marry her immediately, the commandant suddenly calls him an “insolent rascal” for daring to think he is worthy to marry a baroness. Candide trembles when he hears this, but he tells the commandant that his desire to marry Cunégonde has nothing to do with her lineage or his. He has ripped her from the evil clutches of a Jew and an inquisitor and she is therefore quite indebted to him. More importantly, Cunégonde wants to marry him. Pangloss always taught that all men are equal, and Candide is intent on marrying her.
The Jesuit Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh roars at this insolence and hits Candide across the face with the flat of his sword. Candide immediately draws his sword and stabs the commandant deep in his stomach. As he pulls the bloody blade out, though, he begins to weep and repent of killing his former friend, master, and brother of his future wife. ...
(The entire section is 433 words.)
Chapter 16 Summary
“What happened to the two travelers with two girls, two monkeys, and the savages called the Orejones”
Candide and his valet have crossed the border, and no one at the camp has yet discovered the death of the Jesuit commandant. The quick-thinking Cacambo filled his saddlebags with food before they rode deep into an unknown country. Finally they discover a great stretch of “grassland crisscrossed with streams,” and the two travelers stop to let their horses graze. Cacambo urges his master to eat, but Candide is too distraught; he has killed Cunégonde's brother and is thus condemned never to see the woman he loves again. If he eats, he will only prolong his life and add to his miserable days.
Despite his words, Candide does eat. As the sun is setting, the two men hear faint cries which they assume are made by women. It is impossible for them to tell if the cries are from pain or joy, but the travelers are frightened and distressed at the sounds and at being in a strange place.
The cries are coming from two young women, utterly naked, running along the edge of the grasslands and followed by two monkeys who are biting them in the buttocks. Candide takes pity on the girls and uses the shooting skills he learned as a Bulgar soldier to kill the two monkeys. He tells Cacambo that he has delivered these two young women from a great danger, offsetting the sin of murdering a Jesuit and an inquisitor. Perhaps the girls are of noble birth and will secure for them great advantages while they are here.
Candide starts to say more but is stopped by the sight of the girls embracing the dead monkeys tenderly, crying bitter tears and wailing in their sorrow. Cacambo tells Candide that he has shot the women’s lovers, something Candide does not understand at all; his valet says that everything surprises Candide, but it should not be surprising to him that there are places where monkeys “might retain the good favors of a lady.” Then Candide remembers the stories Pangloss told him of fauns, satyrs, and Aegipans (half man, half goat), but he did not believe his tutor.
Cacambo is afraid these young women might cause them trouble, so the travelers ride deep into the forest for the night. When they wake up, neither man can move because they are tied up with ropes made of bark. They are surrounded by about fifty Orejones, the inhabitants of these parts and those to whom the two ladies...
(The entire section is 799 words.)
Chapter 17 Summary
“The arrival of Candide and his valet in the land of El Dorado, and what they saw there”
As Candide and Cacambo arrive at the Orejones’ border, the valet tells his master they should return to Europe as quickly as possible. Candide says that the Bulgars and Avars are still butchering everyone in Germany; if he returns to Portugal, he will be burned at the stake; and if he stays here he is always at risk of being roasted on a spit. Moreover, he is loathe to leave the part of the world where Cunégonde is. Cacambo suggests they go to Cayenne; there they can find Frenchmen who travel the world and who would perhaps help the travelers. Perhaps God will take pity on them, as well.
Though Candide and Cacambo know the general direction in which to go, they are faced with formidable obstacles on the way to Cayenne: rivers, cliffs, mountains, thieves, and savages. Their horses die of exhaustion and their provisions run out; for a month they live on wild fruit and coconuts.
As he always gives good advice, like the old woman, Cacambo finally tells Candide they can walk no more. He sees an empty canoe and suggests they float in it downstream. A river always leads to some inhabited place, and if they do not find something good perhaps they will at least find something new. Candide agrees, and they place their lives in the hands of Providence.
The two men float for several leagues; the landscape of the banks on either side of them changes often. The river grows ever wider until it disappears beneath a terrifyingly tall mountain range. Candide and Cacambo gather their courage and let the canoe carry them into the waters beneath the mountains. The current grows terrible, and they are quickly swept away in a thunderous roar of water. After twenty-four hours, the men finally see daylight again; however, their canoe gets smashed against the rocks and they have to drag themselves across the rocks for an entire league.
At last they see a glorious land in front of them, surrounded by the impenetrable mountain range. Everything here is beautiful, and the roads are covered with splendidly shaped carriages made of something that glitters and drawn by large, red sheep that run more swiftly than the fastest horses. Inside are men and women of exceptional beauty. Candide exclaims that this is a much better land than Westphalia.
They stop at the first village they see. Some of the...
(The entire section is 802 words.)
Chapter 18 Summary
“What they saw in the land of El Dorado”
The innkeeper tells Cacambo that he is a happily ignorant man, but there is a wise man in the village who is the most learned and eloquent man in the kingdom. The innkeeper takes them to an old man in a sumptuous but simple room full of fine metals and jewels. The man is one hundred and seventy-two years old, and his deceased father was equerry (honored attendant) to the king.
This kingdom is the “old fatherland to the Incas” who unwisely chose to leave so they could subjugate another part of the world and were ultimately destroyed by the Spaniards. The princes and their families who remained were much wiser and decreed, with the people’s consent, that no inhabitant of the country could ever leave this kingdom. This has preserved their happiness and innocence.
The Spaniards know little about this country which they call El Dorado; because it is a country surrounded by precipitous mountains, it has remained safe from European nations who have an insatiable desire for the stones and would gladly kill everyone in the country to get them. An Englishman, Sir Walter Raleigh, almost reached it about a hundred years ago.
The men converse about many things, and Candide asks if there is a religion in this country. The old man is insulted and explains they have the same religion as the rest of the world: they worship God “from dusk to dawn.” Cacambo asks if they only serve one God; the old man derisively says they only worship one because there is only one and says people from the outside always ask the strangest questions.
Candide asks how they pray here, but the old man says they do not pray because they have nothing for which they must ask God. Since He has given them everything, they continually thank Him. They have no priests, and everyone gathers each morning to sing solemn hymns. Candide is stunned that El Dorado does not have monks who “preach, argue, govern, plot, and have people burned who do not share their opinions.” The old man says they would have to be mad to have such men.
Candide thinks that if Pangloss had seen El Dorado he would not have thought Baron Thunder-ten-Tronckh’s castle was the best of all places. The old man arranges for a carriage and servants to take the travelers to the royal court. The king’s magnificent palace is made of something far finer than the sand and pebbles...
(The entire section is 807 words.)
Chapter 19 Summary
“What happened to them in Surinam, and how Candide met Martin”
Candide and Cacambo have a pleasant first day of traveling; on the second day, two sheep are swallowed by a swamp, and several days later two more die of exhaustion. At the end of a hundred days of travel, they only have two sheep. Candide tells Cacambo that this is how fleeting the riches of the world are; the only things that endure are virtue and happiness at seeing Cunégonde again.
Ahead of them is Surinam, which belongs to the Dutch. As they approach town, they see a Negro man lying on the ground wearing nothing but blue underpants; his left leg and his right hand are missing. He is waiting for his master, Monsieur Vanderdendur, a famous merchant—and the one who did this to the poor man. Such beatings are the custom here.
Slave workers are given one pair of underpants twice a year for clothing. If a finger gets caught in the gears of the sugar mill, the hand is cut off; if one tries to escape, off goes a leg. This is the price which is paid so Europeans can have their sugar. Candide decries Pangloss and his philosophy of Optimism; the tutor could not have known such abominations are possible or he would not believe that “everything is good when things are bad.” Candide weeps all the way to Surinam. They meet a Spanish ship’s captain and honest Candide tells him they plan go to Buenos Aires to collect Cunégonde; the captain refuses, knowing they would all be hanged because Cunégonde is the governor’s favorite mistress. This news makes Candide weep for a long time.
Candide decides Cacambo must rescue Cunégonde. He has diamonds in his pockets worth five or six million, and he is to bribe the governor if he will not release her. Candide will take a ship to Venice and wait for Cacambo to bring Cunégonde to him. The two men embrace and weep and Candide reminds his valet to bring the old woman, as well.
Candide waits for a captain who will take him and his two remaining sheep to Venice. He hires servants and buys supplies for the voyage. Finally the merchant Vanderdendur says he will take Candide and all his belongings to Venice for ten thousand piastres. When Candide accepts the offer immediately, the merchant realizes Candide must be rich and amends his fee to twenty thousand. Candide again accepts with alacrity. They settle on thirty thousand piastres, and Candide sells two diamonds,...
(The entire section is 807 words.)
Chapter 20 Summary
“What happened to Candide and Martin at sea”
Candide and Martin, the old scholar, set sail for Bordeaux. Both men have lived through and seen much suffering, so even if their ship were traveling around the world they would not run out of conversation about the realities of physical and moral evil.
Candide is better off than Martin in one respect, for he has the hope of seeing his beloved Cunégonde again while Martin has nothing for which to hope. Though Candide does not have the riches he once had, he still has some gold and diamonds. So, though the tragedies which have befallen him still cause him pain, when he speaks about Cunégonde and remembers what he has in his pockets, Candide once again believes in Pangloss’s philosophy.
He asks Martin what he believes about moral and physical evil, and Martin confesses that he is a Manichean (one who believes in pure reason, that life on earth is unbearably painful and radically evil and that knowledge is the only way to heaven). Candide says Martin must be kidding him, as there are no more Manicheans left in the world. Martin claims he has spoken the truth; though he does not know what to do, he cannot think any differently. Candide suggests that perhaps he is possessed by the devil.
Martin agrees that Satan meddles enough in the affairs of this world that he may as well be inside him just as he is everywhere. Though it is painful for him to say, Martin believes that God has abandoned this world to some evil being. The exception, of course, is El Dorado. Every other town Martin has seen is trying to destroy its neighboring town, and every family desires to ruin another family. The weak all despise the strong, though they grovel at their feet; and the strong treat the weak as sheep to be sold and used. A million paid mercenaries march across Europe, performing “disciplined murder and robbery to earn their bread,” and it is seen as the most honest profession. In the more peaceful cities, where the arts flourish, men are more consumed by worry, jealousy, and anxiety than the men in cities which are besieged by an army. “Private sorrows are more bitter than public suffering.” Because he has seen and suffered so much, Martin is a Manichean.
When Candide asserts that there is good to be found in this, Martin says he cannot see it if there is. During their conversation, they hear a cannon shot. Soon the noise...
(The entire section is 720 words.)
Chapter 21 Summary
“Candide and Martin continue reasoning as they approach the coast of France”
At last the coast of France is in sight, and Candide asks Martin if he has ever been to France. Martin has traveled through several provinces of the country and he has seen people there who are mad, overly cunning, gentle, foolish, and witty. In every province, though, the people’s primary occupation is love, the second is slander, and the third is talking nonsense. Even Paris has all those types of people. It is a city of chaos where everyone seeks pleasure but rarely finds it, or at least it seems so to Martin.
When he visited Paris, he did not stay long. First, pickpockets robbed him of everything he had with him. Then he was mistaken for a thief and spent a week in jail. He had to work as a proofreader to earn enough money to walk back to Holland. In that job, he saw writers, plotters, and "convulsioners" (those who gathered at the tomb of a dead divine and convulsed, ate dirt from the grave site, and performed beatings and crucifixions). People claim there are some very refined people in Paris; Martin would like to believe it.
Candide has no interest in spending any time in France. Now that he has lived in El Dorado, he no longer cares for anything on this earth but Cunégonde. He plans to go straight to Venice and wait for her to come to him. To do that, he must cross France and go to Italy; he asks Martin if he would like to accompany him on this journey. Martin gladly accepts the offer, saying that Venice is not a good place for anyone but Venetian nobles and rich visitors. Since Candide is rich, Martin will happily follow him.
Candide asks if Martin believes the world was originally a giant sea. Martin does not believe any of the fantasies people have been trying to promote for many years but that the world was created just to infuriate those who live in it. He is not astonished at the kind of love the two girls had for their monkeys (Candide had told him the story) nor the fact that men are butchering one another. Candide wonders if Martin believes that men have always been
liars, rogues, traitors, ingrates, brigands, weaklings, inconstant, cowards, enviers, gluttons, drunkards, misers, self-seekers, bloodthirsty, slanderers, debauchers, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools.
In return, Martin asks Candide if he believes hawks have always...
(The entire section is 490 words.)
Chapter 22 Summary
“What happened to Candide and Martin in France”
Candide sells a few of his El Dorado stones and buys a carriage for two. Though he is upset at having to leave his red sheep behind, Candide donates the animal to the Academy of Arts and Sciences, which offers a prize to whomever can determine why the sheep is red. (The eventual winner devised a ridiculous formula by which all sheep should be red and should die of sheep pox.)
Everyone Candide and Martin meet is headed to Paris; their enthusiasm convinces Candide to stop and see the city, and they change course. They enter the city through a nasty little village and as soon as Candide is settled at the inn he begins to feel sick. Since he wears a huge diamond ring and has an exceptionally heavy box in his carriage, two doctors, two intimate friends who promise never to leave his side, and two women to heat his food immediately appear. When Martin got sick in Paris, not one person came to help him, yet he recovered.
Due to medicine and bloodlettings, Candide’s condition grows worse. A local priest comes to collect money to ensure that Candide can be buried in a church cemetery. Candide refuses and the cleric says he will not be allowed a consecrated burial. Martin and the priest have a heated quarrel; Martin finally grabs the man and throws him out the door.
Candide begins to recover and has plenty of company. They gamble for high stakes, and Candide is amazed that he never gets any aces but Martin is not at all surprised. Among this group of ruffians is a shamelessly fawning abbot named Périgord who gladly helps steer any visitors to the city through its pitfalls and pleasures. When he takes Candide and Martin to the theater, Candide is moved to tears though everyone else says it is a terrible play performed by a terrible actress. Candide asks Périgord if it is true that Parisians are always laughing; he says it is true, but it is angry laughter. “They complain with pearls of laughter” and commit awful acts while laughing.
Candide wants to meet the actress he saw because she reminds him of Cunégonde, but she is not free. Instead, Périgord takes him to visit another fine lady. The Marquise de Parolignac runs a gambling house and no one even looks up when Candide enters the room. After the abbot whispers in her ear, she welcomes Candide to the faro table where he promptly loses fifty thousand...
(The entire section is 807 words.)
Chapter 23 Summary
“Candide and Martin head for the coast of England. What they see there”
Candide and Martin are on a Dutch ship on their way to England, and Candide bemoans the evils of this world and longs for his beloved Cunégonde. He asks Martin if he knows whether the people of England are as mad as they are in France. Martin tells him the English people suffer from a different kind of madness.
England is a country which fights a war over “a few acres of snow near Canada,” and they are spending more money on this war than what all of Canada is worth. Though he cannot explain their behavior, Martin warns Candide that he is certain to discover what the rest of the world already knows: the English are “splenetic” (easily angered).
They speak of these things until they arrive in Portsmouth, where a large crowd of people have gathered. They are looking attentively at a portly man who is kneeling blindfolded on the deck of one of the ships of the fleet. Four soldiers stand in a line in front of the man and calmly shoot four bullets into the man’s head. The crowd seems content and begins to disperse.
Candide is once again appalled at the cruelties of men in this world. He asks about the man who was shot and is told he was an admiral. He was shot because he did not have enough people killed. The English admiral and a French admiral fought a duel, and it was decided that the English admiral had not drawn close enough to him. Candide points out the obvious: the French admiral was the same distance from his enemy when he shot as the English admiral was from him. No one denies that fact, but Englishmen believe that it is good to kill an admiral occasionally to inspire the troops.
After Candide hears all of this, he is appalled and does not even want to set foot in this country. He implores the Dutch captain to take him directly to Venice, and he does not even care if the man robs him as thoroughly as the Dutch captain he met in Suriname did. The captain is ready in two days, and he guides his ship along the coast of France. They see Lisbon in the distance, and Candide shudders at the memories. They continue through the strait and into the Mediterranean Sea until they finally arrive in Venice.
Candide embraces Martin and thanks God that they have arrived in the place where he is going to once again see he his beloved Cunégonde, for he knows he can rely on Cacambo. All...
(The entire section is 460 words.)
Chapter 24 Summary
“About Paquette and Brother Giroflee”
Candide arrives in Venice and begins searching for Cacambo. Every day he sends messengers to the ships, but there is no word of his valet or of Cunégonde. He does not understand how he could have been gone so long, through so many misadventures followed by a month-long stay in Venice, and still his beloved has not arrived. Candide assumes she is dead, and he wishes he could die, as well. Candide says he should have stayed in El Dorado and tells Martin he was right: everything is “illusion and disaster.”
Eventually Candide sinks into a deep melancholy, and nothing can draw him out of it. Martin scolds him for being naïve enough to assume his valet actually went to rescue Cunégonde and bring her to Venice. He thinks Cacambo will keep her for himself if he does find her, and further, Candide is better off just to forget about them both. This only makes Candide more inconsolable; Martin continues to make his case that life is nothing but misery.
Candide notices a monk walking arm-in-arm with a young woman in St. Mark’s Square. The Theatine monk is cheerful and robust, and the woman looks at him adoringly as they walk. Candide points the couple out to Martin as an example of people who are happy, something he has rarely seen outside of El Dorado. Martin is willing to bet they are not happy; Candide suggests they invite the couple to dinner. He immediately approaches them and invites them to a fine dinner at his inn.
The monk accepts the invitation; the young lady blushes and follows them. She looks at Candide with surprise and confusion. Brother Giroflée sits in the dining room to have a drink before dinner. As soon as the other three enter Candide’s room, the woman asks if Candide really does not recognize Paquette. He had not looked closely at the woman before because he has only been thinking of Cunégonde; when Candide examines her now, he recognizes her as the baroness’s maidservant who gave Pangloss the horrific disease.
She has heard all about the troubles which have befallen the Thunder-ten-Tronckh household and she assures Candide that her life has been just as miserable as theirs. When he knew her, she was an innocent maid; however, a Franciscan monk serving as her confessor easily seduced her and the consequences were terrible. She was forced out of the castle shortly after Candide was banished, and she...
(The entire section is 809 words.)
Chapter 25 Summary
“The visit to Senator Pococurante, a Venetian nobleman”
Martin and Candide visit the sixty-year-old nobleman who lives in a glorious palazzo; he greets them politely but without any enthusiasm, which is disconcerting to Candide but not displeasing to Martin. Two beautiful girls serve them delicious cocoa, and the senator tells his guests that he sometimes lets the girls share his bed because he is bored with the women in town; but even these girls are beginning to bore him.
After lunch, the men walk through a long gallery of beautiful paintings; Candide is surprised at the beauty of the works and asks who painted them. Though they were painted by Raphael and are loved by everyone, the senator does not like them in the least. Unless a painting perfectly reflects reality, he does not like it; so he no longer looks at his art.
As they wait for dinner to be served, the senator orders a concerto to be performed. Candide finds the music to be exquisite, but the senator calls it “noise” and does not find it pleasing for long. Opera might have been something he could enjoy, but the current methods of performing have ruined that for him. He long ago decried all the things which have become the glory of Italy and which others pay so dearly to have. Candide tactfully disagrees, but Martin agrees wholeheartedly with the senator.
After an excellent dinner, the men retire to the library where Candide praises the senator for having a magnificent copy of one of Homer’s books, a volume which had delighted Pangloss. It does not delight the senator. He once believed he enjoyed it, but the battles are all the same, the gods always act without thinking, Helen causes the war but is barely present in the story, and Troy is continually besieged but never taken. All of this bores him. Other scholars to whom he has talked have admitted their boredom with it as well, but they all agree that it is important to display the text in one’s library.
Candide questions him about Virgil (only parts of Aeneid are tolerable), Horace (who has some axioms from which he can profit, but the rest is poorly written), and Cicero (who he never reads). The senator believes only a fool admires everything a revered author writes; he only likes what is useful to him. Candide is astonished by this thinking, as he was raised never to judge anything for himself; however, Martin believes...
(The entire section is 688 words.)
Chapter 26 Summary
“Of a dinner that Candide and Martin had with six strangers, and who they were”
One evening, Candide and Martin sit down to a meal with strangers staying at their inn. Suddenly a man with soot-colored skin approaches Candide from behind and grabs his arms, telling him to be ready to “leave with them,” without fail. Candide turns around and is ecstatic to see Cacambo. He embraces his old friend and asks to take him to Cunégonde immediately. Cacambo tells him Cunégonde is not here; she is in Constantinople.
That does not dampen Candide’s joy, and he asks Cacambo to take him to his beloved immediately. His former valet says they can leave after dinner but he cannot say anything more. Cacambo is now a slave and his master is waiting for Cacambo to serve him his dinner. He warns Candide not to say anything about this; he is to eat his meal and be prepared to depart.
Candide is torn between delight and grief. He is thrilled to see his “faithful emissary” again but astonished that Cacambo is now a slave. He is in utter turmoil at the thought of finding Cunégonde again. He finally settles down to eat with Martin, who remains coolly composed, and six visitors who have come to Venice for Carnival.
Cacambo pours wine for one of the foreigners and leans down as the meal is ending and says, “Sire, Your Majesty may leave at will, the ship is ready.” Cacambo then exits leaving the rest of the diners astonished. They are still silent when another servant approaches his master and tell him His Majesty’s carriage is waiting in Padua and his ship is ready. The servant leaves and the diners are even more surprised. A third servant approaches a third foreign diner and says His Majesty must not remain here any longer and everything will be prepared for his departure.
Candide and Martin are convinced this is some kind of a Carnival masquerade, but then a fourth and fifth servant bring similar messages to their masters. The sixth valet, however, brings a different message. He tells his master that no one will allow them any more credit and both of them might be thrown in prison tonight. The servant tells his master farewell and leaves.
All the servants have disappeared, and the men sit in silence. Candide finally speaks, assuring the others that he and Martin are not kings and wondering how it is that all of them are. Cacambo’s...
(The entire section is 784 words.)
Chapter 27 Summary
“Candide’s voyage to Constantinople”
Candide’s faithful valet has arranged for Candide and Martin to board the ship which is taking Sultan Ahmed back to Constantinople. The men prostrated themselves before “His miserable Highness” before embarking. On the way, Candide notes that he and Martin dined with six dethroned kings, and he was even able to give alms to one of them. He figures that there are many more noblemen who are even more unfortunate than he, for he has only lost a hundred sheep and now he is going to be reunited with his beloved Cunégonde. He tells Martin that, once again, Pangloss is right: all is for the best.
Martin is not particularly impressed with any of Candide’s reasoning and says that sitting in Venice with six dethroned kings is not more extraordinary than anything else which has happened to them. Kings are often dethroned, and eating with them was not much of an honor.
As soon as he steps aboard the ship, Candide throws his arms around Cacambo and asks him everything about Cunégonde. The valet tells him that Cunégonde is now working on the shores of the Propontis as a dishwasher for “a prince who has very few dishes.” She is a slave for a foreign sovereign named Rákóczi; even worse, she has lost her beauty and is now horribly ugly.
Candide is an honest man and sees it as his duty to love her forever. He wonders, though, how Cunégonde has been reduced to such a state when Cacambo had five or six million in his pockets. The valet explains he had to give a million to the governor of Buenos Aires to get permission to retrieve Cunégonde; then pirates stripped him of everything he had left. The pirates took them to Cape Mapatan, Milos, Icaria, Samos, Petra, the Dardenelles, Marmara, and Scutari. Now Cunégonde and the old woman are in the prince’s service, and Cacambo is the slave of a dethroned sultan.
Candide still has a few diamonds left and will undoubtedly be able to free Cunégonde easily. It is a pity that she has become so ugly, though. He asks Martin who should be pitied most: Emperor Ahmed, Emperor Ivan, King Charles Edward, or Candide. Martin says he cannot answer without examining each man’s heart. If Pangloss were here, says Candide, he would know and instruct them. Martin is unsure what scale or measure Pangloss would use to come to his conclusion, but he is certain there are millions of men who are more to be...
(The entire section is 812 words.)
Chapter 28 Summary
“What happened to Candide, Cunégonde, Pangloss, Martin, et cetera”
Again Candide apologizes to the Jesuit baron for driving his sword through his belly; the baron forgives him, saying perhaps he, too, had been rash. He arrived in the galley ship after an interesting series of events.
After he had been stabbed, one of his Jesuit brothers, an apothecary, healed his wound. He was then attacked by a Spanish contingency and abducted by them before being imprisoned in Buenos Aires after Cunégonde had left the city. The young baron asked to be returned to the Father General in Rome where he served as the almoner to the French Ambassador in Constantinople.
He had only been in this position for a week when he met a very handsome young page from the sultan’s palace one evening. It was quite hot and the young page wanted to bathe; the former Jesuit officer also decided to bathe. He did not know that it was a capital offense for a Christian to be caught naked with a young Muslim. His punishment was a hundred strokes with a stick on the soles of his feet and then he was sentenced to work in the galleys. The baron feels this was an unparalleled injustice and wonders why his sister is working in the kitchen of a Transylvanian nobleman who is living among the Turks.
Candide asks Pangloss how he managed to survive his hanging. After he was hanged, Pangloss should have been burned, according to tradition; however, there was a downpour just as they were preparing to cook him. It was such a strong storm that they were afraid to light the fire, so they settled on mere hanging. His body was purchased by a surgeon who took him home and dissected him. His first incision was from his navel to his clavicle.
The hanging was very poorly done, as the Executor of the High Offices of the Holy Inquisition was an expert at burning people but not accustomed to hanging. The rope was wet and did not slide properly, so Pangloss was still breathing. The incision made him howl so loudly that the surgeon fell over. He assumed he was dissecting the Devil and ran away in mortal terror. The surgeon’s wife heard the commotion and came running. She was even more terrified and ran away until she tripped over her husband who had fallen down the stairs.
After they had recovered a bit, the wife scolded her husband for trying to dissect a heretic, as everyone knows the Devil resides in them. When...
(The entire section is 743 words.)
Chapter 29 Summary
“How Candide found Cunégonde and the old woman”
On their trip to Propontis, Candide and his companions (Martin, Cacambo, Pangloss, and the baron) philosophize about causes and effects, physical and moral evil, freedom and necessity, and the random but necessary events of this universe. They finally arrive at the home of the Prince of Transylvania on the shore of Propontis. The first two things they see are the very things they came for: Cunégonde and the old woman. They are hanging towels out on the line to dry.
The baron turns pale at the sight. Candide gazes upon his once-beautiful beloved who is now brown and withered. She has bloodshot eyes, shrunken breasts, wrinkled cheeks, and raw, chapped hands; his first reaction is to recoil several paces in horror. Candide is a man of good manners, though, and they compel him to step forward. Cunégonde hugs her brother and Candide, and the men then embrace the old woman. Candide promptly purchases both women’s freedom.
Nearby is a farm, and Cunégonde suggests that it will be a good place for Candide and the others to wait for a “better destiny.” No one has told Cunégonde that she has grown ugly, so she is not aware of the dramatic changes she has undergone. She reminds Candide of his promises with such an authoritative tone that he is afraid to refuse her, so he asks the young baron for permission to marry his sister.
The baron again seems to be offended by the nerve of a commoner in asking to marry a noblewoman. He exclaims that he will not allow “such baseness on her part” or such insolence on Candide’s. He refuses to allow others to criticize him for consenting to such a shameful match. If he allowed this marriage to happen, his sister’s children would never be able to become part of the German nobility. He vows that Cunégonde will never marry anyone but someone of her own class—a German baron.
Cunégonde is distraught, throwing herself at her brother’s feet and crying profusely; however, her brother remains unmoving in his position. Candide calls the baron a fool, for Candide bought his freedom from the galleys and paid his ransom. He has already done the same for his sister. Though she is dried up and ugly, Candide is still willing to make Cunégonde his wife. And after all of this, the young baron still intends to deny the marriage. Candide is angry enough to kill the baron again, but the baron...
(The entire section is 451 words.)
Chapter 30 Summary
In the recesses of his heart, Candide no longer wants to marry Cunégonde, but the baron is so insulting and Cunégonde is so insistent that Candide is determined to follow through on his promise. He consults his advisors (Pangloss, Martin, and Cacambo) regarding this decision.
Pangloss gives a dissertation in which he proves that the young baron has no rights at all over his sister and that Cunégonde therefore has every right to marry Candide if she wishes it. Martin’s advice is to throw the baron promptly into the sea. Cacambo suggests that the baron be returned to the galleys and then sent back to the Father General in Rome. The others like this idea very much, and even the old woman approves. Cunégonde is not part of the deliberations. The matter is settled with a small payment, and the group is pleased at being able both to trap a Jesuit and punish a German nobleman.
Given the rather disastrous course of his life up until now, one might easily imagine that Candide will now live a most pleasant life in this world. He indeed marries Cunégonde and they live with Pangloss, Martin, Cacambo, and the old woman. However life in this world is not so sunny. Though he once had many diamonds from El Dorado, he is cheated by the Jews until he has nothing left but his little farm. Cunégonde grows more ugly and shrewish every day, and life with her is nearly unbearable. The old woman is not well and has a disposition even worse than Cunégonde’s. Cacambo tends the garden and travels to Constantinople to sell his vegetables, and he now curses his fate. Pangloss is distressed because he is not the shining star in a German university. Martin is still convinced that life is bad wherever one is and bears all things patiently.
Candide, Pangloss, and Martin have ongoing debates about physics and morals. If they are not disputing one another’s views, they are bored. The old woman thinks all of the trials she has been through in her life are not as terrible as sitting around and doing nothing. Pangloss declares that he has had a terrible life of suffering, but since he has always asserted that everything is going splendidly he will continue to assert it even though he does not in the least believe it.
One event causes great consternation on the farm: the arrival of Paquette and Brother Giroflée. Since Candide left Venice, the couple has lost their fortune, left...
(The entire section is 789 words.)