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Free Study Guide: Candide by Voltaire - Synopsis / Analysis

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How Candide killed his dear Cunégonde’s brother


The Commandant recalls the slaughter in his home. Thinking he was dead, a Jesuit priest sprinkled holy water on him. He revived. Father Croust felt compassionate towards him and sent him to Rome. From there the Jesuits sent him to Paraguay where he is now a colonel and a priest. He intends to defeat and excommunicate the Spanish troops. He and Candide decide to rescue Cunégonde. He is shocked and angry when Candide insists on marrying Cunégonde as Candide has only seventy-one quartering of nobility. Candide argues that Pangloss had said that all men are equal. The angry Baron (Commandant) strikes him with the flat of his sword. Candide kills him and shouts that he is the best man in the world. He has already killed three men and two of them were priests. Cacambo disguises him in the Baron’s robes and they gallop away.


Here Voltaire has used the name Croust for a religious father. Croust was actually the name of a homosexual priest whom Voltaire met in Colmar in 1754. By this Voltaire wishes to attack the sexual morality of clergyman.

In this chapter, just as in some other chapters, characters reappear to tell their story. This is a tradition of a picaresque novel. It is surprising that characters, who are considered to be dead, suddenly reappear. The reader is as surprised as Candide to find the Baron’s son alive.

The false pride and snobbery of the aristocracy is exposed. The Baron’s son is not willing to listen to any sensible argument from Candide. He knows that his sister Cunégonde and Candide really love each other. Yet, he clings to the argument that Candide has only seventy-one quartering of nobility.

Candide shouts with glee that he was killed three men, two of whom were priests. This is perhaps an expression of Voltaire’s hatred for priests. He thus satirizes their behavior.


What happened to the two travelers with two girls, two monkeys, and the savages called Oreillons


They stop to rest in a meadow. Candide tells Cacambo that he is too sad to eat since he has killed the son of his Lord, the Baron. And he may never see his beloved Cunégonde again. Anyway, he begins to eat.

They hear the cry of two naked girls. They are not sure whether it is a cry of sorrow or a cry of joy. They see that the girls running while two monkeys pursued them. Candide shoots the monkeys. He is happy to save the girls. He thinks that by doing so he has atoned for his sin of having killed an Inquisitor and a Jesuit.

He then sees the girls weeping bitterly over the monkeys’ bodies. Cacambo points out that the monkeys were their lovers. After all the monkeys are one-quarter human just as he is one-quarter Spanish.

Cacambo and Candide go into the wood and sleep. On waking they find themselves surrounded by the Oreillons who wish to eat a Jesuit. Cacambo explains to them that they have a common enemy and that Candide has killed a Jesuit Commandant. He is able to prove it. So they are released with joy and honor.


The episode involving the girls and monkeys as lovers has a place in the realm of satire. Voltaire is depicting the bestiality of human beings. According to Cacambo, the monkeys are one-fourth human. Voltaire seems to believe in the view that man is midway between beast and angel in the hierarchical scale. If this is true the two ladies are going lower on this scale by making love to monkeys. Moreover, Voltaire is trying to ridicule the advice of Rousseau to go back to nature. At other places in the novel, he shows that the so-called ‘civilized’ people hardly behave better.

The Oreillons are long-eared savages. They have long ears because they wear heavy earrings. They wish to eat a Jesuit. This is really disgusting. They free Candide and Cacambo only when Cacambo convinces them that Candide is not a Jesuit and that he has killed a Jesuit. This shows Cacambo’s tremendous presence of mind. Voltaire satirizes the unreasonably desire of the Oreillons. They want to eat a Jesuit.

Although Candide says that he is too sad to eat, yet he eats. Voltaire indicates with gentle irony that Candide is not as desperate as he shows or even thinks himself to be.

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