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Free Study Guide: Candide by Voltaire - Synopsis / Analysis

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What happened to Cunégonde, to Candide, to the Grand Inquisitor, and to a Jew


Don Issachar is a very angry man. He is angry to see Candide there. Thinking that Candide is defenseless, he draws a dagger. Candide has a sword and he kills him. The Grand Inquisitor arrives. Candide is afraid that he will burn him and Cunégonde. Moreover, he had got Candide lashed and therefore he is his rival. So Candide kills him.

The old woman advises an immediate escape. They escape on three saddled horses and ride thirty miles without stopping. The night is pleasant and beautiful.

Meanwhile, the police discover the corpses. They bury the Inquisitor in a beautiful church and throw Don Issacharís body in a sewer.

The fugitive Candide, Cunégonde, and the old lady reach an Inn at Avancena in Sierra Morena.


Issachar is the Babylonian captivity of the Jews as described in the Old Testament. Voltaire depicts Issachar as a very angry man. By doing so he parodies Panglossís use of superlatives. Voltaire also emphasizes the primitive nature of the Inquisition.

There is an anti-church satire in this chapter. Religious fanaticism is seen when the body of the Grand Inquisitor is given an honorable burial in a splendid church; whereas the body of Don Issachar is thrown in a sewer. A Franciscan priest steals the jewels of Cunégonde. Voltaire tries to show that even people who are intensely involved with religion are not from greed. They can fall into trivial temptations like stealing jewels.


How Candide, Cunégonde, and the old woman arrived at Cadiz in great distress and how they embarked


The money and diamonds are stolen. They suspect a Reverend Franciscan father who had slept in the same inn as them. Cunégonde weeps. They sell one of their horses and continue their journey through Spain.

At Cadiz, a fleet is making preparations to fight the Jesuits who have revolted against the Kings of Spain and Portugal. Candide also participates. He earns the rank of the captain because of his military experience with the Bulgarians.

They sail on, hoping to find a New World - the best of all worlds. He is sad and discouraged with the Old World of Europe. Cunégonde is very discouraged after having experienced much misfortune. Yet the old woman claims to have suffered more misfortune than her.


Voltaire satirizes the moral of monks. The monks should renounce the worldly goods and pleasures and seek only the divine, but here the reader encounters a monk who steals. The reader also wonders why he came twice into Cunégondeís bedroom and if his intention was more than merely wanting to steal the jewels. Then a Benedictine monk buys a horse at a low price. So after the jewels are stolen they are deprived by not getting the full price for the horse.

During their voyage, Candide, Cunégonde, and the old woman pass through towns that do geographically exist. However, the zigzag route all over Spain gives the effect of a cartoon.

There is a reference to a revolt in this chapter. The revolt did actually take place in Paraguay. Spain wished to transfer St. Sacrament to Portugal but her Jesuit missionaries resisted. They elected their own King. Voltaire distrusted the Jesuits. He felt that the priests wanted to profit from the natives by taking undue advantage of them.

Candideís adventures emphasize slavery and war in America. He finds the New World as bad as the Old World of Europe.

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