Candide lives in the castle of the baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh in Westphalia. Candide is the illegitimate son of the baron’s sister. His mother refused to marry his father because his father’s family tree could only be traced through “seventy-one quarterings. ” The castle’s tutor, Pangloss, teaches “metaphysico-theologo-cosmolo-nigology” and believes that this world is the “best of all possible worlds. ” Candide listens to Pangloss with great attention and faith.
Miss Cunegonde, the baron’s daughter, spies Pangloss and a maid, Paquette, engaged in a lesson in “experimental physics. ” Seized with the desire for knowledge, she hurries to find Candide. They flirt and steal a kiss behind a screen. The baron catches them and banishes Candide. Summary: Chapter 2 Candide wanders to the next town, where two men find him half-dead with hunger and fatigue. They give him money, feed him, and ask him to drink to the health of the king of the Bulgars.
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They then conscript him to serve in the Bulgar army, where Candide suffers abuse and hardship as he is indoctrinated into military life.
When he decides to go for a walk one morning, four soldiers capture him and he is court-martialed as a deserter. He is given a choice between execution and running the gauntlet (being made to run between two lines of men who will strike him with weapons) thirty-six times. Candide tries to choose neither option by arguing that “the human will is free,” but his argument is unsuccessful. He finally chooses to run the gauntlet. After running the gauntlet twice, Candide’s skin is nearly flayed from his body. The king of the Bulgars happens to pass by.
Discovering that Candide is a metaphysician and “ignorant of the world,” the king pardons him. Candide’s wounds heal in time for him to serve in a war between the Bulgars and the Abares. Summary: Chapter 3 The war results in unbelievable carnage, and Candide deserts at the first opportunity. In both kingdoms he sees burning villages full of butchered and dying civilians. Candide escapes to Holland, where he comes upon a Protestant orator explaining the value of charity to a crowd of listeners. The orator asks Candide whether he supports “the good cause. Remembering Pangloss’s teachings, Candide replies that “*t+here is no effect without a cause. ” The orator asks if Candide believes that the Pope is the Antichrist. Candide explains that he does not know, but that in any case he is hungry and must eat. The orator curses Candide and the orator’s wife dumps human waste over Candide’s head. A kind Anabaptist, Jacques, takes Candide into his home and employs Candide in his rug factory. Jacques’s kindness revives Candide’s faith in Pangloss’s theory that everything is for the best in this world. Summary: Chapter 4 Candide finds a deformed beggar in the street. The beggar is Pangloss.
Pangloss tells Candide that the Bulgars attacked the baron’s castle and killed the baron, his wife, and his son, and raped and murdered Cunegonde. Pangloss explains that syphilis, which he contracted from Paquette, has ravaged his body. Still, he believes that syphilis is necessary in the best of worlds because the line of infection leads back to a man who traveled to the New World with Columbus. If Columbus had not traveled to the New World and brought syphilis back to Europe, then Europeans would also not have enjoyed New World wonders such as chocolate. Jacques finds a doctor to cure Pangloss, who loses an eye and an ear to the syphilis.
Jacques hires Pangloss as his bookkeeper and then takes Candide and Pangloss on a business trip to Lisbon. Jacques disagrees with Pangloss’s assertion that this is the best of worlds and claims that “men have somehow corrupted Nature. ” God never gave men weapons, he claims, but men created them “in order to destroy themselves. ” Analysis: Chapters 1–4 Voltaire satirizes virtually every character and attitude he portrays. The name of the barony—Thunder-ten-tronckh, a guttural, primitive-sounding set of words—undercuts the family’s pride in their noble heritage.
Throughout Candide Voltaire mocks the aristocracy’s belief in “natural” superiority by birth. The baron’s sister, for instance, has refused to marry Candide’s father because he only had seventy-one quarterings (noble lineages) in his coat of arms, while her own coat of arms had seventy-two. This exaggeration, a classic tool of satire, makes the nobility’s concern over the subtleties of birth look absurd. Voltaire uses exaggeration of this sort throughout the novel to expose the irrationality of various beliefs—and, more importantly, the irrationality of pursuing any belief to an extreme degree.
Pangloss is a parody of all idle philosophers who debate subjects that have no real effect on the world. The name of his school of thought, metaphysico-theologo-cosmolo-nigology, pokes fun at Pangloss’s verbal acrobatics and suggests how ridiculous Voltaire believes such idle thinkers to be. More specifically, critics agree that Pangloss’s optimistic philosophy parodies the ideas of G. W. von Leibniz, a seventeenth-century mathematician and philosopher who claimed that a pre-determined harmony pervaded the world. Both Pangloss and Leibniz claim that this world must be the best possible one, since God, who is perfect, created it.
Human beings perceive evil in the world only because they do not understand the greater purpose that these so-called evil phenomena serve. Leibniz’s concept of the world is part of a larger intellectual trend called theodicy, which attempts to explain the existence of evil in a world created by an all-powerful, perfectly good God. Voltaire criticizes this school of philosophical thought for its blind optimism, an optimism that appears absurd in the face of the tragedies the characters in Candide endure. At the beginning of the novel, Candide’s education consists only of what Pangloss has taught him.
His expulsion from the castle marks Candide’s first direct experience with the outside world, and thus the beginning of his re-education. Candide’s experiences in the army and the war directly contradict Pangloss’s teaching that this world is the best of all possible worlds. The world of the army is full of evil, cruelty, and suffering. Powerful members of the nobility start wars, but common soldiers and subjects suffer the consequences. Neither side of the conflict is better than the other, and both engage in rape, murder, and destruction. In his attacks on religious hypocrisy, Voltaire spares neither Protestants nor Catholics.
The Dutch orator embodies the pettiness of clergy members who squabble over theological doctrine while people around them suffer the ravages of war, famine, and poverty. The orator cares more about converting his fellow men to his religious views than about saving them from real social evils. The Anabaptist Jacques is a notable exception. The Anabaptists are a Protestant sect that rejects infant baptism, public office, and worldly amusements. The Amish and the Mennonites, for example, follow Anabaptist doctrine. Voltaire, generally skeptical of religion, was unusually sympathetic to Anabaptist beliefs.
Jacques is one of the most generous and human characters in the novel, but he is also realistic about human faults. He acknowledges the greed, violence, and cruelty of mankind, yet still offers kind and meaningful charity to those in need. Unlike Pangloss, a philosopher who hesitates when the world requires him to take action, Jacques both studies human nature and acts to influence it—a combination that Voltaire apparently sees as ideal but extremely rare. Summary: Chapter 5 A furious storm overtakes Candide’s ship on its way to Lisbon. Jacques tries to save a sailor who has almost fallen overboard.
He saves the sailor but falls overboard himself, and the sailor does nothing to help him. The ship sinks, and Pangloss, Candide, and the sailor are the only survivors. They reach shore and walk toward Lisbon. Lisbon has just experienced a terrible earthquake and is in ruins. The sailor finds some money in the ruins and promptly gets drunk and pays a woman for sex. Meanwhile the groans of dying and buried victims rise from the ruins. Pangloss and Candide help the wounded, and Pangloss comforts the victims by telling them the earthquake is for the best.
One of the officers of the Inquisition accuses Pangloss of heresy because an optimist cannot possibly believe in original sin. The fall and punishment of man, the Catholic Inquisitor claims, prove that everything is not for the best. Through some rather twisted logic, Pangloss attempts to defend his theory. Summary: Chapter 6 The Portuguese authorities decide to burn a few people alive to prevent future earthquakes. They choose one man because he has married his godmother, and two others because they have refused to eat bacon (thus presumably revealing themselves to be Jewish).
The authorities hang Pangloss for his opinions and publicly flog Candide for “listening with an air of approval. ” When another earthquake occurs later the same day, Candide finds himself doubting that this is the best of all possible worlds. Summary: Chapter 7 Just then an old woman approaches Candide, treats his wounds, gives him new clothes, and feeds him. After two days, she leads him to a house in the country to meet his real benefactor, Cunegonde. Summary: Chapter 8 Cunegonde explains to Candide that the Bulgars have killed her family.
After executing a soldier whom he found raping Cunegonde, a Bulgar captain took Cunegonde as his mistress and later sold her to a Jew, Don Issachar. After seeing her at Mass, the Grand Inquisitor wanted to buy her from Don Issachar; when Don Issachar refused, the Grand Inquisitor threatened him with auto-da-fe (burning alive). The two agreed to share Cunegonde; the Grand Inquisitor would have her four days a week, Don Issachar the other three. Cunegonde was present to see Pangloss hanged and Candide whipped, the horror of which made her doubt Pangloss’s teachings.
Cunegonde told the old woman, her servant, to care for Candide and bring him to her. Summary: Chapter 9 Don Issachar arrives to find Cunegonde and Candide alone together, and attacks Candide in a jealous rage. Candide kills Don Issachar with a sword given to him by the old woman. The Grand Inquisitor arrives to enjoy his allotted time with Cunegonde and is surprised to find Candide. Candide kills him. Cunegonde gathers her jewels and three horses from the stable and flees with Candide and the old woman. The Holy Brotherhood gives the Grand Inquisitor a grand burial, but throws Don Issachar’s body on a dunghill. Summary: Chapter 10
A Franciscan friar steals Cunegonde’s jewels. Despite his agreement with Pangloss’s philosophy that “the fruits of the earth are a common heritage of all,” Candide nonetheless laments the loss. Candide and Cunegonde sell one horse and travel to Cadiz, where they find troops preparing to sail to the New World. Paraguayan Jesuit priests have incited an Indian tribe to rebel against the kings of Spain and Portugal. Candide demonstrates his military experience to the general, who promptly makes him a captain. Candide takes Cunegonde, the old woman, and the horses with him, and predicts that it is the New World that will prove to be he best of all possible worlds. But Cunegonde claims to have suffered so much that she has almost lost all hope. The old woman admonishes Cunegonde for complaining because Cunegonde has not suffered as much as she has. Analysis: Chapters 5–10 Readers have proposed various interpretations of Jacques’s death. His death could represent Voltaire’s criticism of the optimistic belief that evil is always balanced by good. Jacques, who is good, perishes while saving the sailor, who is selfish and evil; the result is not a balance but a case of evil surviving good. Jacques’s death could also represent the uselessness of Christian values.
Continually referred to as “the Anabaptist,” Jacques is an altruist who does not change society for the better; he ends up a victim of his own altruism. Pangloss responds to Jacques’s death by asserting that the bay outside Lisbon had been formed “expressly for this Anabaptist to drown in. ” This argument is a parody of the complacent reasoning of optimistic philosophers. Convinced that the world God created must necessarily be perfectly planned and executed, optimists end up drawing far-fetched and unlikely connections between apparently unrelated events, such as the formation of a bay and the drowning of Jacques.
Voltaire bases the earthquake in Candide on an actual historical event that affected him deeply. A devastating earthquake on November 1, 1755—All Saints’ Day—leveled Lisbon and killed over 30,000 people, many of whom died while praying in church. The earthquake challenged a number of Enlightenment thinkers’ optimistic views of the world. The sailor’s debauchery amid the groans of the wounded represents indifference in the face of evil. Voltaire strongly condemned indifference, and his belief that human inaction allows suffering to continue is evident in his depictions of the sailor and Pangloss.
At one point, when Candide is knocked down by rubble and begs Pangloss to bring him wine and oil, Pangloss ignores Candide’s request and rambles on about the causes and ultimate purpose of the earthquake. Voltaire proposes a fundamental similarity between Pangloss’s behavior and the sailor’s actions. The sailor’s sensual indulgence in the face of death is grotesque and inhumane. While less grotesque, Pangloss’s philosophizing is no better, because it too gets in the way of any meaningful, useful response to the disaster.
The auto-da-fe, or act of faith, was the Inquisition’s practice of burning heretics alive. Beginning in the Middle Ages, the officials of the Inquisition systematically tortured and murdered tens of thousands of people on the slightest suspicion of heresy against orthodox Christian doctrine. Jews, Protestants, Muslims, and accused witches were victims of this organized campaign of violence. Like many Enlightenment intellectuals, Voltaire was appalled by the barbarism and superstition of the Inquisition, and by the religious fervor that inspired it.
Voltaire makes his ideological priorities clear in Candide. Pangloss’s philosophy lacks use and purpose, and often leads to misguided suffering, but the Inquisition’s determination to suppress dissenting opinion at any cost represents tyranny and unjust persecution. The Inquisition authorities twist Pangloss’s words to make them appear to be a direct attack on Christian orthodoxy, and flog Candide for merely seeming to approve of what Pangloss says. This flogging of Candide represents exaggeration on Voltaire’s part, an amplification of the Inquisition’s repressive tactics hat serves a satirical purpose. Along with outrage at the cruelty of the Inquisition, we are encouraged to laugh at its irrationality, as well as at the exaggerated nature of Candide’s experience. Cunegonde’s situation inspires a similarly subversive combination of horror and absurdity. Her story demonstrates the vulnerability of women to male exploitation and their status as objects of possession and barter. Cunegonde is bought and sold like a painting or piece of livestock, yet the deadpan calm with which she relates her experiences to Candide creates an element of the absurd.
Candide takes this absurdity further; as Cunegonde describes how her Bulgar rapist left a wound on her thigh, Candide interrupts to say, “What a pity! I should very much like to see it. ” In the middle of this litany of dreadful events, Candide’s suggestive comments seem ridiculous, but the absurdity provides comic relief from the despicably violent crimes that Cunegonde describes. The stereotyped representation of the Jew Don Issachar may offend the contemporary reader, but it demonstrates the hypocrisy that afflicted even such a progressive thinker as Voltaire.
Voltaire attacked religious persecution throughout his life, but he suffered from his own collection of prejudices. In theory, he opposed the persecution of Jews, but in practice, he expressed anti-Semitic views of his own. In his Dictionary of Philosophy, Voltaire describes the Jews as “the most abominable people in the world. ” Don Issachar’s character is a narrow, mean-spirited stereotype—a rich, conniving merchant who deals in the market of human flesh. Voltaire makes another attack on religious hypocrisy through the character of the Franciscan who steals Cunegonde’s jewels.
The Franciscan order required a vow of poverty from its members, making Voltaire’s choice of that order for his thief especially ironic. Summary: Chapter 11 The old woman tells her story. It turns out that she is the daughter of Pope Urban X and the princess of Palestrina. She was raised in the midst of incredible wealth. At fourteen, already a stunning beauty, she was engaged to the prince of Massa Carrara. The two of them loved each another passionately. However, during the lavish wedding celebration, the prince’s mistress killed the prince with a poisoned drink, and the old woman and her mother set sail to mourn at their estate in Gaeta.
On the way, pirates boarded the ship and the pope’s soldiers surrendered without a fight. The pirates examined every bodily orifice of their prisoners, searching for hidden jewels. They raped the women and sailed to Morocco to sell them as slaves. A civil war was underway in Morocco, and the pirates were attacked. The old woman saw her mother and their maids of honor ripped apart by the men fighting over them. After the fray ended, the old woman climbed out from under a heap of dead bodies and crawled to rest under a tree. She awoke to find an Italian eunuch vainly attempting to rape her. Summary: Chapter 12
A hundred times I wanted to kill myself, but always I loved life more. The old woman continues her story. Despite the eunuch’s attempt to rape her, she was delighted to encounter a countryman, and the eunuch carried her to a nearby cottage to care for her. They discovered that he had once served in her mother’s palace. The eunuch promised to take the old woman back to Italy, but then took her to Algiers and sold her to the prince as a concubine. The plague swept through Algiers, killing the prince and the eunuch. The old woman was subsequently sold several times and ended up in the hands of a Muslim military commander.
He took his seraglio with him when ordered to defend the city of Azov against the Russians. The Russians leveled the city, and only the commander’s fort was left standing. Desperate for food, the officers killed and ate two eunuchs. They planned to do the same with the women, but a “pious and sympathetic” religious leader persuaded them to merely cut one buttock from each woman for food. Eventually, the Russians killed all the officers. The women were taken to Moscow. A nobleman took the old woman as his slave and beat her daily for two years. He was executed for “court intrigue,” and the old woman escaped.
She worked as a servant in inns across Russia. She came close to suicide many times in her life, but never carried it out because she “loved life” too much. The old woman wonders why human nature makes people want to live even though life itself is so often a curse. She tells Candide and Cunegonde to ask each passenger on the ship to tell his story. She wagers that every single one has been upset to be alive. Summary: Chapter 13 At the old woman’s urging, Candide and Cunegonde ask their fellow passengers about their experiences. They find that the old woman’s prediction is correct.
When the ship docks at Buenos Aires, they visit the haughty, self-important governor, Don Fernando d’Ibaraa y Figueora y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza, who orders Candide to review his company. When Candide leaves, Don Fernando begs Cunegonde to marry him. The shrewd old woman advises Cunegonde to marry the governor, as marrying him could make both her and Candide’s fortune. Meanwhile, a Portuguese official and police arrive in the city. It turns out that when the Franciscan who stole Cunegonde’s jewels tried to sell them, the jeweler recognized them as belonging to the Grand Inquisitor.
Before he was hanged, the Franciscan described the three people from whom he stole the jewels—ostensibly the Grand Inquisitor’s murderers. The authorities sent the Portuguese official to capture these three. The old woman advises Cunegonde to remain in Buenos Aires, since Candide was responsible for the murder and the governor will not allow the authorities to do Cunegonde any harm. The old woman advises Candide to flee immediately. Analysis: Chapters 11–13 The old woman’s story serves a dual purpose. The catalogue of her sufferings illustrates a vast array of human evils that contradict Pangloss’s optimistic view of the world.
She has lived through violence, rape, slavery, and betrayal and seen the ravages of war and greed. The old woman’s story also functions as a criticism of religious hypocrisy. She is the daughter of the Pope, the most prominent member of the Catholic Church. The Pope has not only violated his vow of celibacy, but has also proven unable and unwilling to protect his daughter from the misfortunes that befell her. The officers who eat the old woman’s buttock value the integrity of their military oath more highly than the lives of the eunuchs and women inside their fort.
Their behavior demonstrates the folly of absurd adherence to an outmoded system of belief. Even after it is clear that their side has no hope of winning the war, the officers choose to practice cannibalism rather than betray their oath. This choice undermines their lofty concepts of honor and duty, and makes even the cleric, who advocates mutilation rather than execution, appear humane. Figures such as the cleric, who perform “good” deeds that are somehow compromised, limited, or otherwise ineffective, turn up throughout the novel and are often presented comically or ironically.
Another example is the kindly French surgeon who treats the women’s wounds but does nothing to prevent them from being sold to new slave owners. The surgeon’s “enlightened” practice of medicine does nothing to alleviate the women’s real suffering. He merely helps the women survive to encounter more misery and injustice. The old woman is pessimistic but acutely aware of the world she lives in. Direct experience dictates her worldview, and her pragmatism lends her more wisdom and credibility than any of her travel companions.
The old woman chides Cunegonde for making judgments about the world based on her limited experience, and urges Candide and Cunegonde to gather knowledge through investigation before making judgments. Through her character, Voltaire reiterates the importance of actual, verifiable evidence and the limited value of judgments based on empty philosophical rhetoric. The old woman defines life as misery, but unlike her younger companions she is not prone to self-pity. She tells Cunegonde, “I would not even have mentioned my own misfortunes, if you had not irked me a bit, and if it weren’t the custom, on shipboard, to pass the time with stories. For her, tales of woe are neither edifying nor moving. They are simply a way of making a point and staving off boredom. Though her suffering does not move her to self-pity, it does shape the pragmatism and frankness that define her character. The old woman’s meditations on suicide speak to one of the novel’s most pressing underlying concerns. If life is so full of unmitigated suffering, the prospect of taking one’s own life seems a reasonable option. The old woman, a Pope’s daughter, does not even consider the standard Christian mandate that suicide is a sin and that those who commit it are destined to burn in hell.
Despite her pessimism, the old woman’s speech on this subject has a strange hopefulness to it. She asserts that people cling to life because they love it, not because they fear eternal punishment. Human beings naturally embrace life—a stupid move, perhaps, but one that demonstrates passion, strong will, and an almost heroic endurance. Don Fernando represents a satire on the arrogance of the nobility. His long list of names mocks the importance that the nobility attaches to titles. Here, Voltaire once again attacks the nobility’s belief that it is naturally endowed with superior virtues that entitle it to wealth and power.
Rather than being a wise or just governor, Don Fernando is a predator, a liar, a cheat, and a joke. Cunegonde’s decision to accept Don Fernando’s proposal adds greater complexity to her character. She is the object of Candide’s lust and idealistic devotion, and Voltaire repeatedly refers to her as “the lovely Cunegonde. ” But she is far from the semi-divine romantic heroine Candide believes her to be, and her calculating, self-serving decision to marry the Don is proof of this. Voltaire undercuts Candide’s romantic ideals by having him continue to worship Cunegonde even after she faithlessly marries the Don.
It is possible that Voltaire also uses these ideals to emphasize Cunegonde’s lack of chastity, although it is unlikely that Voltaire means to condemn her for this. Cunegonde uses her beauty and sexuality to manipulate men, which seems a highly reasonable way of behaving in a world in which sexuality is the only asset women possess. Summary: Chapter 14 Candide’s new valet Cacambo is fond of his master and urges Candide to follow the old woman’s advice. Cacambo tells Candide not to worry about Cunegonde because God always takes care of women. Cacambo suggests that they fight on the side of the rebellious Paraguayan Jesuits.
The two reach the rebel guard and ask to speak to the colonel, but the colonel orders their weapons and their horses seized. A sergeant tells Candide and Cacambo that the colonel does not have time to see them and that the Father Provincial hates Spaniards. He gives them three hours to get out of the province. Cacambo informs the sergeant that Candide is German. The colonel agrees to see him. Candide and Cacambo are led to the colonel’s lavish pavilion. Their weapons and horses are returned. It turns out that the colonel is Cunegonde’s brother, now the baron of Thunderten-tronckh.
Candide and the baron embrace one another in tearful joy. Candide reports that Cunegonde also survived the attack and that she is with the governor. While they wait for the Father Provincial, the colonel tells his story. Summary: Chapter 15 When the Bulgars attacked the castle, the colonel was left unconscious and appeared dead. He was thrown into a cart full of corpses and taken to a Jesuit chapel for burial. A Jesuit sprinkling holy water on the bodies noticed the colonel’s eyes moving, and immediately made arrangements for the colonel’s care. After three weeks the colonel recovered completely.
Being a “very pretty boy,” he earned the “tender friendship” of a highly regarded Jesuit and eventually became a Jesuit himself. He was sent to Paraguay, where he became a colonel as well as a priest. The colonel hopes to bring Cunegonde to Paraguay. Candide says he wishes to do the same because he plans to marry her. This statement infuriates the colonel, as Candide is not of the nobility. Candide claims that he agrees with Pangloss’s statement that all men are equal, and reminds the colonel how much he has done for Cunegonde and how happily she agreed to marry him.
The colonel slaps Candide with his sword, and Candide responds by running the colonel through with his own sword. Candide bursts into tears. Cacambo rushes into the room. He dresses Candide in the colonel’s habit, and they flee the pavilion. Summary: Chapter 16 Candide and Cacambo end up in a strange country with no roads. They see two naked women running in a meadow pursued by two monkeys biting at their legs. Candide hopes he can rescue the women and gain their assistance, and so he kills the monkeys. However, instead of being grateful the women fall to the ground and weep over the dead monkeys.
Cacambo informs Candide that the monkeys were the women’s lovers. Candide and Cacambo hide in a thicket where they fall asleep. They awaken to find themselves bound and surrounded by a tribe of fierce natives known as Biglugs. The Biglugs rejoice, excited that they are going to get revenge on the Jesuits by eating one. Cacambo tells them in their language that Candide is not a Jesuit. He explains that Candide killed a Jesuit and wore the Jesuit habit to escape. He urges the Biglugs to take the habit to the border and ask the guards to confirm the story.
The Biglugs do so and discover that Cacambo is telling the truth. They show Candide and Cacambo the greatest hospitality and accompany them to the edge of their territory. Candide affirms his faith in the perfection of the world. Analysis: Chapters 14–16 In eighteenth-century Europe, the Americas represented the long-standing promise of a new and brighter future for mankind. The New World attracted clergy in search of converts, merchants in search of riches, and countless adventurers in search of new adventure.
In Chapter 10, Candide expresses the hope that the New World is the perfect world Pangloss spoke of, since the Old World clearly is not. By the eighteenth century, however, the dark side of colonization had already emerged. Educated individuals knew about the horrors of slavery, the oppression of natives, and the diseases spread by inter-cultural contact (of which Pangloss’s syphilis is one example). In these chapters and those that follow, Voltaire portrays the Americas as a region thoroughly corrupted by the vices of the Old World. The rebellion in Paraguay exposes the hypocrisy and scheming of South American politics.
The Jesuit priests lead a revolt of native peoples against the Spanish colonial government, yet the Jesuits are not fighting for the right to self-government for these downtrodden natives. The Biglugs’ attitude toward Jesuits makes it clear that the native peoples feel no kinship with the priests who claim to be fighting for them. Instead, the Jesuits merely exploit the rebels in a greedy campaign to grab wealth and power away from the government. The native Paraguayans are the impoverished servants of powerful, wealthy European dissidents, mere pawns in an economic—not ideological—quarrel between Europeans.
In this section, Voltaire seizes another opportunity to mock the hypocrisy of religious leaders and the aristocracy. The colonel tells Candide how a Jesuit priest took him into the order because he found him physically attractive. These leading comments suggest a homosexual relationship between the colonel and his mentor, a situation the Jesuits rigorously and publicly condemned. The colonel’s refusal to allow Candide to marry his sister, even after their emigration to America and after hearing all of what Candide has done for Cunegonde, is another example of European aristocratic arrogance.
The description of the Biglugs can be read as a criticism of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s philosophy. Rousseau, another important French Enlightenment thinker, was a bitter rival of Voltaire’s. Rousseau viewed man as naturally good and insisted that only the institutions of human civilization, such as property and commerce, corrupt man’s innate goodness. He was interested in the figure of the natural man, whom he called the “noble savage. ” Rousseau held that, in a state of nature without the trappings of civilization, human beings would be ignorant of all vice. Voltaire, conversely, was far more pessimistic about human nature.
He describes the Biglugs as men in a state of nature, but they are not noble savages ignorant of vice. Rather, they are filled with the same prejudices and brutality as people from the Old World. Like the Inquisitors in Portugal, they kill people based on their religious affiliation, and like the officers in the city of Azov, they are willing to practice cannibalism. Cacambo is an interesting exception to Voltaire’s bleak view of the New World. Cacambo is of mixed Spanish and Native American ancestry, but he has managed to avoid many of the misfortunes that have befallen both groups in the New World.
He deals capably with both the Jesuits and the Biglugs and can speak both native and European languages. He suffers fewer gross misfortunes than any other character, less out of luck than because of his sharp wits, and he proves to be unflaggingly loyal and honest. Though Voltaire does not see hope for a new, better world for the European in the Americas, Cacambo seems to represent a different hope: a new, better man who is neither completely of the Old World nor completely of the New, who bases his personality and ability on his understanding and experience of both worlds.
Though Cacambo inspires optimism in others, he himself is no optimist. His wide experience of the world leads him to the same conclusions as the old woman: he tells the Biglugs that “the law of nature teaches us to kill our neighbor, and that’s how men behave the whole world over. ” Summary: Chapter 17 Cacambo and Candide continue to travel, but their horses die and their food runs out. They find an abandoned canoe and row down a river, hoping to find signs of civilization. After a day, their canoe smashes against some rocks. Cacambo and Candide make their way to a village, where they find children playing with emeralds, rubies, and diamonds.
When the village schoolmaster calls the children, they leave the jewels on the ground. Candide tries to give the jewels to the schoolmaster, but the schoolmaster merely throws them back to the ground. Cacambo and Candide visit the village inn, which looks like a European palace. The people inside speak Cacambo’s native language. Cacambo and Candide eat a grand meal and try to pay for it with two large gold pieces they picked up off the ground. The landlord laughs at them for trying to give him “pebbles. ” Moreover, the government maintains all inns for free.
Candide believes that this is the place in the world where everything is for the best. Summary: Chapter 18 Cacambo and Candide go to see the village sage, a 172-year-old man. The sage explains that his people have vowed never to leave their kingdom, which is called Eldorado. High mountains surround the kingdom, so no outsiders can get in, making Eldorado safe from European conquests. They also have a God whom they thank every day for giving them what they need. No religious persecution occurs because everyone agrees about everything. Cacambo and Candide visit the king.
They embrace him according to customs explained by one of his servants, and such familiarity and equality of address with a monarch shocks them. Candide asks to see the courts and prisons and learns there are none. Rather, there are schools devoted to the sciences and philosophy. After a month, Candide decides that he cannot stay in Eldorado as long as Cunegonde is not there. He decides to take as many Eldorado “pebbles” with him as he can. The king considers the plan foolish, but sets his architects to work building a machine to lift Candide, Cacambo, and 102 swift sheep loaded down with jewels out of the deep valley.
Candide hopes to pay Don Fernando for Cunegonde and buy a kingdom for himself. Summary: Chapter 19 Cacambo and Candide lose all but two sheep as they travel to Surinam, but the last two sheep still carry a sizable fortune. Cacambo and Candide meet a slave on the road who is missing a leg and a hand. The slave tells them that his own mother sold him to his cruel master, Vanderdendur. He tells them of the misery of slavery, and his words prompt Candide to renounce Pangloss’s optimism. Candide sends Cacambo to retrieve Cunegonde and the old woman.
Meanwhile, Candide tries to secure passage to Venice, and Vanderdendur offers his ship. When Candide readily agrees to Vanderdendur’s high price, Vanderdendur deduces that Candide’s sheep are carrying a fortune. Candide puts his sheep on board in advance, and Vanderdendur sails off without him, taking much of Candide’s fortune. Candide, at great expense, tries but fails to obtain compensation through the legal system. He then books passage on a ship sailing for France and announces that he will pay passage plus a good sum of money to the most unhappy man in the province.
Out of the crowd of applicants, Candide chooses a scholar who was robbed by his wife, beaten by his son, and forsaken by his daughter. Analysis: Chapters 17–19 Eldorado is Voltaire’s utopia, featuring no organized religion and no religious persecution. None of the inhabitants attempts to force beliefs on others, no one is imprisoned, and the king greets visitors as his equals. The kingdom has an advanced educational system and poverty is nonexistent. This world is clearly the best of the worlds represented in Candide and seems to be the “best of all possible worlds” in which Pangloss believes.
However, Voltaire’s deep pessimism about human nature shines through the glittering portrait of the harmonious, utopian society of Eldorado. The word “utopia,” coined by Sir Thomas More in his book of the same name, sounds like the Greek words for both “good place” and “no place. ” For the suffering inhabitants of the real world, Eldorado might as well not exist. It is almost completely inaccessible from the outside. Riches enough to end world poverty lie untouched on the ground. Its residents refuse to initiate any contact with the outside world because they know that such contact would destroy their perfect country.
After some time there, even Candide wants to return immediately to the deeply flawed world outside. The Eldorado “pebbles” will only be of value to him in the outside world. The jewels that make Eldorado beautiful serve to inspire greed and ambition in Candide, whose only previous interests have been survival and his love for Cunegonde. The fortune that Candide obtains in Eldorado brings him more problems than advantages. He quickly discovers that riches make him into a target for all sorts of swindlers, as Vanderdendur and the Surinamese officers swiftly work to get as much money from Candide as they can.
Before he becomes wealthy, Candide still repeatedly finds cause to endorse Pangloss’s optimism. After he acquires wealth, however, the fierce blows he suffers shatter his confidence in optimism. Financial injury inspires more pessimism in him than violence ever did. His decision to listen to countless stories of woe and to reward the most miserable man is reminiscent of the old woman’s behavior on the trip to America, during which she asked the other passengers to recite their sad tales. This indicates that perhaps Candide identifies more with the old woman’s world-weary pessimism now that he has had money.
By suggesting that Candide is sorrier to see his money disappear than he was to see his blood shed, Voltaire also comments on the hopeless irrationality of human priorities and on the power of greed. Candide’s attempt to acquire a companion for his voyage reveals the futility of trying to compensate someone for misery and suffering. There are so many miserable people in the world that giving away a little bit of money does virtually nothing to reduce this overall misery. Voltaire implies that the basis for misery is the social structure itself, which needs to be changed before any real compensation can occur.
Candide’s new pessimism also owes something to his conversation with the slave whom he encounters on the road to Surinam. Voltaire illustrates social injustice and systematic cruelty many times in the novel. However, many of these situations, such as Candide’s conscription into the Bulgar army and the consumption of the old woman’s buttock, are exaggerated, absurd, or even comical. The slave’s life story, on the other hand, is quite realistic and has no element of humor to it. In dealing with slavery, Voltaire comes up against an evil so powerful that even his considerable satiric wit cannot make light of it.
Summary: Chapter 20 Candide still has a little money and a few jewels, and hopes to use what he has to recover Cunegonde. His love and remaining fortune momentarily renew his faith in Pangloss’s philosophy. Martin the scholar, on the other hand, maintains that God has abandoned the world because men kill and maim one another everywhere. En route to Bordeaux, Martin and Candide watch a battle between two ships. One ship sinks and its crew perishes. Candide finds his sheep in the water and realizes that the defeated ship belonged to Vanderdendur.
Candide claims that there is some good in the world because Vanderdendur has met with just punishment, but Martin asks why Vanderdendur’s crew had to die with him. Summary: Chapter 21 When the coast of France is in sight, Candide asks Martin if he has ever been to Paris. Martin says he has, and describes his previous encounters with the French and his disgust at what he calls their lack of manners. Candide asks Martin why the world was made, and Martin replies, “To make us mad. ” Candide then asks Martin if he believes that men have always done evil things to one another.
Martin replies with a question, asking Candide if hawks have always eaten pigeons. When Candide answers yes, Martin counters that if the rest of nature’s beasts do not change, then men do not either. Candide disagrees, claiming that men have free will. Summary: Chapter 22 The ship arrives in France, and Candide buys a carriage so that he and Martin can continue to travel together. They decide to visit Paris, but Candide becomes ill upon arriving at their hotel. Candide wears a large diamond on his hand that attracts a great number of new riends, including two physicians, who force their services on him. The physicians only succeed in making Candide sicker. Candide and Martin meet an abbe of Perigord and play cards with him and his friends. The other players cheat, and Candide loses a great deal of money. The abbe takes Candide and Martin to visit the Marquise of Parolignac. While there, Candide argues with a philosopher about whether everything is for the best in this world. The philosopher states that the world is in a state of “unending warfare. ” The Marquise seduces Candide and steals his jeweled rings.
By manipulating Candide, the abbe learns that Candide has not received a letter from Cunegonde. The next morning, Candide receives a letter signed “Cunegonde” with the news that she is ill in Paris and wishes him to visit her. Candide and Martin are conducted into a dark room. The maidservant explains that Candide may not view Cunegonde because light would be harmful to her. Candide gives diamonds and gold to the woman he believes to be Cunegonde. The abbe arrives with a squad of officers and orders Martin and Candide arrested as “suspicious strangers. Candide bribes an officer with diamonds, and the officer lets them go. The officer’s brother, after being given more diamonds, puts Candide and Martin on a ship bound for England. Summary: Chapter 23 When the ship is near shore, Martin and Candide witness the execution of an admiral. They learn that England executes admirals periodically to encourage the rest of the fleet to fight harder, and that this particular admiral was sentenced to death for failing to incite his men to get closer to the enemy during a battle with the French in Canada.
Candide refuses to set foot in England and arranges for the captain of the ship to take him to Venice, where he is certain he will be reunited with Cunegonde. —You see, said Candide to Martin, crime is punished sometimes; this scoundrel of a Dutch merchant has met the fate he deserved. —Yes, said Martin; but did the passengers aboard his ship have to perish too? Analysis: Chapters 20–23 Martin is a foil to Pangloss. He does not believe that everything is for the best in this world, nor does he believe in some natural “good. ” He acknowledges the evil side of human nature.
For Martin, the presence of evil in the world does not inspire convoluted logical justification. Candide tries to counter Martin’s arguments by citing the idea of free will. However, free will does not solve the dilemma of the presence of evil in a world created by a perfectly good, omniscient, omnipotent Christian God. In telling the story of his life, Martin refers to two religious ideologies. He claims that the Surinamese clergy persecuted him because they thought he was a Socinian. The Socinians were a Christian sect formed during the Reformation. They rejected the divinity of Christ, the trinity, and original sin.
They greatly influenced Enlightenment thought and aided in the formation of the ideology of the Unitarian Universalist church. The Surinamese clergy were, however, mistaken in their understanding of Martin’s “heresy. ” Martin claims that he is not a Socinian, but a “Manichee. ” Manichaeism is an ancient religion founded by the sage Mani. The Manichaeans see the universe in terms of the dual forces of good and evil. They believe that these two forces are equally powerful in the world and are continually in conflict. Manichaeans believe that through spiritual knowledge, human beings can conquer the evil side of their natures.
Christians, whose doctrines hinge on a belief in a good and all-powerful god who is more powerful than the evil represented by Satan, fiercely reject Manichaeism. The precepts of Manichaeism also directly conflict with Pangloss’s optimism, since a world dominated in part by evil cannot be perfect or perfectible. For the remainder of the novel, Martin’s ideas provide an enlightening counterexample to the beliefs espoused by Pangloss and Candide. In general, Martin’s arguments seem more reasonable and compelling than Candide’s renditions of Pangloss’s ideas.
But, like Pangloss, Martin believes so firmly in his own view of the world that he occasionally dismisses real evidence that contradicts his philosophy, thereby discrediting it. For example, in Chapter 24, Martin asserts that Cacambo has certainly run off with Candide’s money, and according to Martin’s cynical opinion of human nature, there is no way Cacambo could do otherwise. In reality, however, Cacambo remains loyal to Candide, even though he does not stand to gain anything. Like Pangloss’s optimism, Martin’s pessimism is based too heavily n abstract speculation and dogmatic belief, and not enough on empirical evidence. Voltaire personally may have found ideas like Martin’s philosophy more credible, but he does not endorse them entirely in his writing. Absolute pessimism, Voltaire seems to say, is as short-sighted and selfdefeating as absolute optimism. In Chapter 22, Voltaire indulges in some relatively good-natured satire of his native country. Voltaire wrote Candide after he had been in exile for several years, and his portrait of the Parisian character, while quite condemnatory, has a ring of intimacy to it.
He describes the gambling, sexual license, theater, and debauchery of the city in colorful detail. The xenophobia that the abbe exploits to rob Candide and that forces Candide to leave the country is perhaps meant to represent the intellectual intolerance that also forced Voltaire out of his homeland. Voltaire’s portrayal of the English demonstrates the range of his critical eye. He was generally very admiring of English government and culture and considered England the most progressive nation in Europe. However, Voltaire does not attempt to portray England as a perfect, or even a good, place.
With his depiction of the admiral’s execution, Voltaire acknowledges that even the country he most admires subscribes to the same ridiculous, irrational logic and the same barbaric practices that are found in every other place on earth. Summary: Chapter 24 When Candide fails to find Cunegonde and Cacambo after several months in Venice, he falls into despair. He begins to agree with Martin’s claim that the world is misery. Martin scolds Candide for trusting a valet with a fortune of millions, and repeats his argument that there is “little virtue and little happiness on the earth. On the street, Candide sees a pretty young woman and a young monk walking arm-inarm with happy expressions on their faces. When he approaches them, he discovers that the girl is Paquette and the monk is named Brother Giroflee. Paquette, Pangloss’s old mistress, confirms Pangloss’s story that he caught syphilis from her. A surgeon took pity on Paquette and cured her, and in return she became the surgeon’s mistress. The surgeon’s jealous wife beat Paquette every day, but the surgeon tired of his wife and poisoned her while treating her for a common cold.
His wife’s family sued him, so he fled. Paquette was sent to prison but the judge granted her freedom on the condition that she become his mistress. When the judge tired of Paquette he turned her out, and she resorted to prostitution. Brother Giroflee is one of her clients, and Paquette appears happy to please him. Giroflee’s parents have forced him into the monastery to increase his older brother’s fortune. Giroflee hates the monastery because it is rife with petty intrigue. Candide gives the two money to ease their sorrows. Summary: Chapter 25 Candide visits Count Pococurante in Venice.
The wealthy count has a marvelous collection of art and books, but he is unable to enjoy any of it. He finds the paintings of Raphael unpleasant and the works of Homer, Horace, and Milton tiresome. The count once pretended to appreciate these things in front of others, but is now unable to pretend, and scorns those who “admire everything in a well-known author. ” The count’s brashness astonishes Candide, who has never been trained to judge for himself, but Martin finds the count’s remarks reasonable. Candide thinks the count must be a genius because nothing pleases him. Martin explains that there is “some pleasure in having no pleasure. Summary: Chapter 26 During Venice’s Carnival season, Candide and Martin are dining with six strangers in an inn when they encounter Cacambo, who is now the slave of one of the six strangers. Cacambo explains that Cunegonde is in Constantinople and offers to bring Candide to her. Summoned by his master, he is unable to say any more. Candide and Martin converse with their dinner companions and discover that each is a deposed king from a different corner of Europe. One of them, Theodore of Corsica, is the poorest and least fortunate, and the others each offer him twenty sequins.
Candide gives him a diamond worth one hundred times that sum. The kings wonder about his identity and the sources of his generosity. Analysis: Chapters 24–26 Martin’s reaction to Candide’s despair at not finding Cunegonde reveals the drawback of his pessimism. Instead of attempting to comfort or even distract his friend and benefactor, Martin gloats over Candide’s distress to further confirm his own world-view. Like Pangloss’s unqualified optimism, Martin’s unqualified pessimism keeps him from taking active steps to improve the world.
Still, that pessimism is further confirmed by the story of Giroflee and Paquette, an apparently blissful young couple whose idyllic appearance masks misfortunes much like those every other character has encountered. Martin warns Candide that throwing money at their problems will not erase them, a warning that bears fruit in the remaining chapters. After all, Candide’s wealth has multiplied his problems rather than eliminated them. The count, who seems to have everything, is still unhappy. He has wealth, education, art, and literature at his command, but none of it truly pleases him.
Candide, who had the pleasure of utopia in Eldorado, returned to the imperfect world because he wanted to find Cunegonde and enjoy resources such as those the count has but fails to enjoy. Through the count, who only takes pleasure in constant criticism of everything, Voltaire perhaps means to suggest that human beings are incapable of satisfaction. In some ways, the count embodies Enlightenment attitudes. The thinkers of that era had access to a greater wealth of art and learning than those of most previous eras of European civilization.
The work of the Renaissance artist Raphael and the Greek and Roman authors on the count’s bookshelf were important staples of the culture of that period. Yet Enlightenment thinkers were famous for biting criticism. The count voices support for the practice of seeking knowledge and experience before making judgments. He scorns people who judge a writer by his reputation rather than by his work. The emphasis on gaining knowledge through experience is strongly characteristic of Voltaire’s own thinking. Thus, it is probable that Voltaire is in some ays sympathetic to the count’s critical point of view. The count’s discernment certainly seems preferable to Candide’s mindless reverence for the authors he has been taught to regard as good. At the same time, the count’s character illustrates Voltaire’s skepticism at the idea that anything, even great art, can make human beings happy. The six strangers, who claim to be dethroned kings, serve as an extended mockery of the arrogance of the aristocracy. Although they believe they are naturally endowed with the right to power, they continually lose power through wars and political upheaval.
Candide feels sorry for the strangers, but Martin correctly states in Chapter 27 that their sufferings are nothing to shed tears over. The strangers still have valets and slaves at their disposal. One of them even owns Cacambo, Candide’s good friend. The account of the dethroned kings also illustrates the changes that were taking place in Voltaire’s society. The growth of capitalism meant that the European nobility was losing influence to commoners who made or acquired wealth of their own accord. The kings wonder at the fact that Candide, a private citizen, has far more money than they do.
Voltaire, who was not of noble birth but had a vast fortune, himself lent or gave money to impoverished royals. In this context, the overweening pride of the aristocracy seems not merely unjust but completely unjustified. Summary: Chapter 27 On the way to Constantinople with Cacambo and his master, Candide and Martin learn that Cacambo bought Cunegonde and the old woman from Don Fernando, but that a pirate abducted them and sold them as slaves. Cunegonde has grown horribly ugly, but Candide resolves to love her anyway. Candide purchases Cacambo’s freedom. Upon arriving in Turkey, Candide recognizes two galley slaves as the baron and Pangloss.
Candide also buys their freedom. Summary: Chapter 28 While the group travels to rescue Cunegonde, the baron and Pangloss tell their stories. The baron bears no ill will toward Candide for stabbing him. After his wound healed, Spanish troops attacked him and sent him to jail in Buenos Aires. The baron eventually returned to Rome to serve his Jesuit order, but was caught bathing naked with a young Turkish man and sent to the galleys. The executioner who was to hang Pangloss was inexperienced in hangings and made the noose badly, so Pangloss survived. A surgeon bought Pangloss’s body for dissection.
Pangloss regained consciousness after being cut open, and the startled surgeon sewed him closed again. Pangloss then traveled to Constantinople. He entered a mosque and saw a pretty young woman drop her nosegay from her bosom. Pangloss picked it up and returned it to her bosom “with the most respectful attentions. ” Her male companion thought he was taking too long with it, so he had Pangloss arrested. Pangloss was then whipped and sent to the galleys. However, he still believes that pre-established harmony is the “finest notion in the world. ” Summary: Chapter 29 Candide purchases the old woman, Cunegonde, and a small farm.
Cunegonde reminds Candide of his promise to marry her. Though horrified by her ugliness, Candide does not dare refuse. However, the baron again declares that he will not live to see his sister marry beneath her rank. Summary: Chapter 30 I should like to know which is worse, being raped a hundred times by negro pirates . . . or . . . just sitting here and doing nothing? Pangloss draws up a formal treatise declaring that the baron has no rights over his sister. Martin is in favor of drowning the baron. Cacambo suggests that they return the baron to the galleys without telling Cunegonde, and that is the course they choose.
Cunegonde grows uglier and more disagreeable every day. Cacambo works in the garden of the small farm. He hates the work and curses his fate. Pangloss is unhappy because he has no chance of becoming an important figure in a German university. Martin is patient because he imagines that in any other situation he would be equally unhappy. They all debate philosophy while the misery of the world continues. Pangloss still maintains that everything is for the best but no longer truly believes it. Paquette and Giroflee arrive at the farm, having squandered the money Candide gave them.
They are still unhappy, and Paquette is still a prostitute. The group consults a famous dervish (Muslim holy man) about questions of good and evil. The dervish rebukes them for caring about such questions and shuts the door in their faces. Later, the group stops at a roadside farm. The farmer kindly invites them to a pleasant dinner. He only has a small farm, but he and his family work hard on it and live a tolerable existence. Candide finds the farmer’s life appealing. He, Cunegonde, and his friends decide to follow it, and everyone is satisfied by hard work in the garden.
Pangloss suggests to Candide once again that this is the best of possible worlds. Candide responds, “That is very well put . . . but we must cultivate our garden. ” Analysis: Chapters 27–30 —Let’s work without speculating, said Martin; it’s the only way of rendering life bearable. The far-fetched resurrections of Pangloss and the baron can be read optimistically or pessimistically. On the one hand, two events that gave Candide great grief, the death of his teacher and his own murder of his old friend, have been reversed in an almost miraculous fashion. Candide’s most impossible wish has come true.
On the other hand, even the fulfillment of that wish brings Candide no real happiness. In fact, the baron actively works to thwart Candide’s happiness. Additionally, even near-death experiences and imprisonment have done nothing to alter Pangloss’s shallow optimism and the baron’s brutish snobbery. Pangloss represents human folly and the baron represents human arrogance, and Voltaire seems to be saying that neither ever really dies. While Candide’s optimism has fluctuated during his travels, Pangloss’s has remained static, despite the fact that he has arguably fared far worse than his pupil.
Pangloss desires consistency in his thinking, an aspiration that seems rational. However, Pangloss’s version of consistency involves an irrational refusal to denounce his excessively optimistic philosophy despite the terrible situations he has encountered. Pangloss no longer even really believes his own words, but he refuses to incorporate his new knowledge into his philosophy. For him, the idea is more important and attractive than reality. The hopeless rigidity of Pangloss’s thought is sharply and concisely illustrated by this exchange: Well, my dear Pangloss, Candide said to him, now that you have been hanged, dissected, beaten to a pulp, and sentenced to the galleys, do you still think everything is for the best in this world? —I am still of my first opinion, replied Pangloss; for after all I am a philosopher, and it would not be right for me to recant since Leibniz could not possibly be wrong, and besides pre-established harmony is the finest notion in the world. Money, leisure, security, peace, and life with his beloved do not make Candide happy. Martin declares that humans are bound to live “either in convulsions of misery or in the lethargy of boredom. The way out of this dilemma, it seems, lies in the lifestyle of the farmer and in Candide’s garden. Candide manages to find a tolerable existence through self-directed improvement and work. Practical action is the only solution Voltaire can find to the problem of human suffering. Each member of the household finds a skill to hone and then uses it to contribute to the support of the household. Without any leisure from their toil in the garden, the characters have no time or energy to trade empty words about good and evil. Candide’s new solution seems to alleviate some of their suffering.
Pangloss points out that the garden in which everyone finds solace is reminiscent of the biblical Garden of Eden, but there are crucial differences. The characters of Candide are ending their adventures in a garden, not beginning them there as Adam and Eve did; and instead of enjoying the free bounty of nature as Adam and Eve did, they must work tirelessly in order to reap any benefits from their garden. The sincerity of Voltaire’s endorsement of this solution is questionable. It seems unlikely that, after having poked malicious fun at countless belief systems, Voltaire should decide to give his readers an unqualified happy ending.
The characters finally realize their desires, but misery still reigns in the world outside their garden. Candide and his friends are wealthy and secure—in a perfect position to try to change the world for the better. Yet, rather than engaging the world in an attempt to improve it, they withdraw from it in an attempt to escape their own petty unhappiness. Voltaire, who became very active in political and social causes later in his life, may see withdrawal into a garden as the only wise and viable solution for creatures as weak as human beings. However, it is unlikely that he sees it as the best of all possible solutions.