Free Study Guide: Candide by Voltaire - Synopsis / Analysis

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How Candide found Cunégonde and the old woman again


Still discussing philosophically they reach the house of the Prince of Transylvania. They find the old woman and Cunégonde drying the washing. Cunégonde has become ugly and wrinkled. Candide and the Baronís son are shocked. Candide politely recovers and buys the women freedom.

Cunégonde does not realize how ugly she is. She insists that Candide should marry her. The Baronís son does not permit the marriage. He says that their children will not be noble enough. Candide tries to pursuade him by pointing out how kind he has been. But the Baronís son is adamant. He says that Candide may kill him again, but while he is alive he will never allow him to marry Cunégonde.


When they reach the house of the Prince of Transylvania, they are still discussing philosophy. Voltaire is trying to suggest that men do not find a solution to philosophical problems. Philosophical discussions do not give permanent happiness.

Cunégonde beauty symbolizes Candideís ideal throughout the book. He feels life will be perfect with beautiful Cunégonde. His quest is to achieve her. Even though he has a perfect life in Eldorado, he willingly sacrifices so that he can go back to his beloved Cunégonde. Her ugliness shatters his unrealistic hopes. Candide comes down to reality. In the next chapter, Candide learns to modify his ambitions.

The Baronís son continues to revel in his foolish pride. He believes that the lineage of his sister is far superior to that of Candide. He is prepared to lose his life rather than allow his sister to marry Candide. He is not concerned about his sister or Candideís happiness. He is not grateful to Candide for all his kindness towards him. Voltaire, here, satirizes the ridiculous thinking and unnecessary pride that the so-called upper class people have.




After seeing ugly Cunégonde, Candide has no desire to marry her. However, he feels that he must do his duty. Moreover, the Baronís sonís insulting ways provokes him. He sends him back to Rome in the next gallery.

Candide stays on his farm along with Cunégonde, the old woman, Pangloss, Cacambo, and Martin. They get bored. Martin patiently accepts restlessness, lethargy, and boredom as the fate of man. They see boatloads of exiled Turkish officers. Paquette and Giroflee arrive. Paquette is still a prostitute. Giroflee has become a Moslem. Being thoroughly bored on the farm, they go to a Dervish, a philosopher in the neighborhood, to consult him. The Dervish tells them not to get into philosophical questions, which are beyond them. He rejects Panglossís philosophy and advises him to hold his tongue. He entertains them nicely and tells them that hardwork drives away three great evils - boredom, vice and need. Candide feels that the life of the Dervish is better than that of the six kings. He is very happy in his own little house. He entertains them nicely.

According to Martin life, can he tolerable if people work without arguing. They all work. The farm prospers. They are able to develop their talents. Pangloss reflects on the chain of events in this world. He still considers it to be the best of all possible worlds. According to him if Candide had not been kicked out of the castle; if he had not killed the baronís son, and lost his llamas and crossed America, they would not be on that farm enjoying lemons and pistachios. Candide politely but firmly says that they must go and work on the farm.


This is the last chapter of the novel. The co-incidence of character suddenly and unexpectedly coming together still continues. Giroflee and Paquette unexpectedly make their appearance again. As Voltaire is about to conclude his novel, Candide and his colleagues come to an appropriate conclusion. They realize the shallowness of Panglossís philosophy and the importance of work after hearing the Dervishís teaching. Having gone through a lot of suffering, they realize that there is nothing like an ideal mode of existence. However, life can be reasonably tolerable, and a person can be reasonably happy if he adopts a practical view of life by working and taking responsibility for himself. Although chance plays an important role in this novel one cannot leave everything to chance.

Throughout the novel, Candide has always yearned for Cunégonde. He has always desired to marry her. At the end of the novel he does not wish to marry her. This is because of her insistence and her brotherís stubborn opposition. His determination is now a mixture of pride, charity, and duty.

The expulsion of the Baron is pitiable but comic. During the expulsion and the subsequent misery, the various characters once more illustrate their philosophies. According to Martin, life is either alarming or boring. Amidst numerous adventures their life has been alarming. Now they tend towards the boring side of life like Pococurante.

The Dervish emphasizes that God is not concerned with individual misfortunes. He makes it clear that he does not wish to waste his time in philosophical discussions. He treats them well and provides them with a healthy philosophy. A suitable solution to boredom, vice and poverty is work.

Pangloss airs his knowledge by quoting from the Bible and from historical tragedies. He gives examples of Biblical and historical kings who fell from glory. He recalls the Garden of Eden. Now his philosophy has little or no impact on Candide. Candide politely but firmly goes back to his work of cultivating his own garden. Though he has found no Garden of Eden, he has at least found a garden to cultivate and enjoy. Life is not ideal but at least it can be made bearable and a person can be reasonably happy through hard work and honesty.

Voltaire concludes the novel with a subtle message. People should get on with their lives rather than waste their time and energy on philosophy or the politics in Constantinople. Voltaire is concerned about the misery of people and the evils in society. In Candide he has exposed in a satirical manner many causes of misery prevailing in his contemporary society.

Candide has, at last, learnt to think realistically. He has decided to act in an equally practical manner. He has realized that attempting the impossible is of no use. But one can do something useful. Everyone may not be able to contribute on a large scale like Voltaire. Yet even a humble contribution made to a small strata of society can be very valuable. Voltaire concludes with this message and an appeal to help fellowmen in whatever small way one can, just as Candide has done.

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