• Year Published: 1759.
  • Pages: 94.

Candide Summary

Candide is born in the German province of Westphalia and grows up in the home of the Baron Thunder – ten – tronckh. He is the illegitimate nephew of the German Baron. Dr. Pangloss is a renowned scholar who teaches him that this world is the best of all worlds and asks him to be optimistic in the face of gravest of problems. Young at heart he falls for the beautiful daughter of the Baron, Cunegonde. The Baron catches them kissing and Candide is expelled from his home. Due to this he is now on his own and gets enlisted into the Bulgars army. Candide wanders away from the camp while on a walk and gets flogged as a deserter. He witnesses a horrible battle and escapes and travels to Holland.

From the above paragraph we see how he was trained to be optimistic, however, there are terrific events that take place but he still remains optimistic.

In Holland, an Anabaptist named Jacques gives refuge to Candide. During his stay, he runs into a deformed beggar who has Syphilis whom he discovers to be Pangloss. From him, he gets to know that Cunegonde and her family have been murdered by the Bulgar army. Jaques generously takes Pangloss in as well. The three decide to take a trip to Lisbon but their ship runs into rough weather and Jaques gets drowned.

Candide and Pangloss reach Lisbon which has been ravaged by an earthquake and under Inquisition. Here, Pangloss is killed being termed a Heretic and Candide flogged for condoning with Pangloss’s teachings. An old woman dresses Candide’s wound and takes him to Cunegonde where he comes to know that her entire family got killed but she was raped and then captured by the captain who sold her to a Jew named Don Isaachar. She is a sex slave to Don Isaachar and the Grand Inquisitor. While they are speaking the two of them arrive one by one and are killed by Candide. Panicked, Candide, Cunegonde and the old woman escape on a ship to South America.

While on the way Candide and Cunegonde decide to marry but on reaching Buenos Aires, the Governor, Don Fernando, proposes to Cunegonde which she accepts to improve her financial status. The authorities arrive from Portugal looking for the murderer of the Grand Inquisitor. Candide with his valet, Cacambo escapes.

After traveling for several days they reach Eldorado which is littered with gold and jewels. Since gold and jewels are available in abundance they do not hold it in much importance. They improve their financial status by collecting the gold and jewels. On the way back to reach Cunegonde, Candide loses quite a bit of his fortune. He sends Cacambo to find Cunegonde. He finds that Cunegonde is in Constantinople where she is enslaved with the old woman. Martin, a pessimistic scholar who had become Candide’s companion along with Cacambo travel to Turkey.

In Turkey, Candide meets Pangloss who is alive and also finds that Cunegonde’s brother the Baron is also alive. Candide notices that despite several misfortunes Pangloss remains optimistic. Candide buys their freedom and goes to find Cunegonde and the old woman. He finds that Cunegone has grown ugly but still buys her freedom.

He purchases a farm outside Constantinople where Candide, Cunegonde, Cacambo, and Pangloss settle down to a comfortable lifestyle. However, they soon start getting bored and quarrelsome. Candide meets a farmer who lives a simple life and works hard and avoids vice and leisure. Inspired by him, Candide along with his retinue start cultivation. Now all their effort goes into work and they do not have time for philosophical speculations and everyone lives happily ever after.


Candide Themes

  • Love
  • Religion
  • Suffering
  • Optimism
  • Wealth
  • Society and Class
  • Mortality
  • Warfare
  • Principles
  • Philosophical Views

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