Candide Chapter 30 Summary
by Voltaire

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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 one another and made up again, been thrown in prison and escaped. Finally Giroflée denounced being a monk and Paquette still plies her trade but earns no money for her services. Martin is not surprised to see the couple, figuring that Candide’s money would only make them more miserable. Pangloss angrily tells Paquette she cost him the tip of his nose, an ear, and an eye.

Another great philosopher lives in the neighborhood, and the group decides to talk with him. Pangloss begs the wise man to tell them why...

(The entire section is 789 words.)