Analysis Pages

Character Analysis in Candide

Candide: The protagonist of the narrative, Candide is both kind-hearted and easily impressionable. Candide demonstrates this naivete during his quest to win over his love interest, Cunégonde. During this quest, a number of misfortunes befall Candide that cause him to question the optimistic ideology of his mentor, Pangloss. The name “Candide” is derived from the latin candidus meaning white. As such, Candide is less of a realistic individual and more of a ‘blank page’ upon which other characters inscribe their own ideas or values.

Pangloss: Pangloss is a philosopher and an optimist. He teaches Candide that their world is the “best possible world.” In this way, Pangloss directly parodies the over-optimistic ideas of philosopher G.W. von Leibniz, a mathematician and philosopher known for his optimistic theories about the world. A number of chaotic events and misfortunes unfold throughout the narrative all of which test the validity of Pangloss’ optimism. When problems arise, Pangloss often chooses to engage in philosophical speculation rather than take direct action towards a solution. Voltaire uses Pangloss to critique both ‘optimistic’ philosophers and the practice of philosophy itself.

Martin: Martin is a jaded scholar whom Candide meets on his travels. Martin’s relentless pessimism acts as a foil to Pangloss’s optimism. However, Martin’s pessimism or negativity is just as flawed as Pangloss’s optimism. Both philosophers fail to account for the true extent of reality.

Cunégonde: Cunégonde is the object of Candide’s affections. She is the daughter of a German baron and is described as young and beautiful. Like Candide, Cunégonde is a rather bland, archetypal character. The difference between Candide’s mad passion for Cunégonde and Cunégonde’s ‘blank’ nature reinforces the satirical tone of the narrative.

Character Analysis Examples in Candide:

Chapter I

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"kissed the young lady's hand..."   (Chapter I)

In European courts and upper class society it was customary for a gentleman to kiss a lady's hand as a show of respect or affection. To engage in any overt sexual acts, such as kissing on the mouth, was frowned upon by the aristocracy and would've constituted a severe breach of etiquette.

"sufficient reason..."   (Chapter I)

Another element of Leibnitz's philosophy, the Principle of Sufficient Reason, demands that for every cause their must be a reason, that is, for every fact, there must be some evidence to support that fact. For Cunegonde to be a sufficient reason for Candide would mean that she was a reason for his existence, that she was made for Candide and he for her like noses are "made" for spectacles. It's a romantic but ultimately faulty form of logic.

"giving a lesson in experimental natural philosophy..."   (Chapter I)

Most likely, this is a euphemism for some form of flirtation or sexual activity, as implied by the description of the chambermaid as "a little brown wench" (wench being a word typically associated with common or wanton women). Pangloss' arrogance is also clearly evident here in that he's lecturing a chambermaid, a servant, who would have no need of this "education."

"thus we have spectacles..."   (Chapter I)

Notice how these lines form a tautology, here defined as an argument that fails to appropriately assign cause and effect. By Pangloss' logic, the nose was created with the intent of one day wearing spectacles, an argument that employs a kind of reverse-engineering that doesn't withstand serious philosophical inquiry.

"metaphysicotheologico-cosmolonigology..."   (Chapter I)

A combination of metaphysics, the philosophy of being and substance, theology, the study of religion, and cosmology, the study of the universe. This combined field of inquiry was invented by Voltaire for maximum comedic effect, suggesting that Pangloss has put on airs and claimed to know more than he really does.

"Preceptor Pangloss..."   (Chapter I)

A "preceptor" is a teacher or instructor. "Pangloss" is a name derived from the Greek words pan, meaning "all," and gloss, meaning "language," making Pangloss mean "all tongues." Together, these two words suggest that Pangloss has a wide range of knowledge and interests well-suited to that of a teacher.

"Cunegonde..."   (Chapter I)

Cunegonde, Candide's love interest, daughter of the Baron. Her name may be a pun on the Latin word "cunnus" and the French word "cul," both terms for female genitalia. This supports the reading of the character as the primary love interest in the novel.

"not only a gate, but windows..."   (Chapter I)

Highlighting the features of the Baron's castle emphasizes his status and, to a certain extent, the ridiculous standards by which wealth and prestige are measured in this society. Some critics suggest that Voltaire is also parodying the Emperor of Lilliput in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, who was a full thumbnail taller than his citizens.

"of his being called Candide..."   (Chapter I)

From the Latin candidus, source of the English candid, meaning honest, open, straightforward (also, innocent, impartial, fortunate). It's telling that Voltaire named Candide thus, because it establishes his character as a frank and generous person, with a "simplicity of spirit" that will guide him through his adventures.

"Dioscorides..."   (Chapter II)

Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40 – 90), a Greek physician and traveling surgeon for the Roman army. That a surgeon in the 1700s would still be using methods dating from ancient Greece suggests that he isn't, in fact, a very good surgeon, and that medicine in the early modern period left something to be desired.

"heroes of six feet..."   (Chapter II)

These four soldiers, while taller than Candide (and thus possessive of larger strides), nevertheless are considered of lower station, because they're six feet tall instead of five feet five inches. Labeling the four as "heroes" emphasizes their mindless obedience; they perform like trained machines programmed to do as their king bids. Candide, a free thinker, wouldn't fit in with them and would upset their sense of honor.

"as they pleased..."   (Chapter II)

Characteristically, Candide doesn't understand his obligations as a soldier in the army (perhaps because he didn't enlist by choice) and still believes in his freedom, that is, his ability to go for a walk whenever and wherever he pleases. As he'll quickly learn, freedom is not an inherent right in this world, and he'll have to find it in other ways.

"how he was a hero..."   (Chapter II)

Note the juxtaposition of "stupefied" and "hero" in this sentence. The military, Voltaire suggests, is full of soldiers just like Candide, "stupefied" youths who don't understand why they're there, let alone the full import of their actions on the national scale. Voltaire, rather than glorify the military, hilariously skewers it in this text.

"for I have never seen him..."   (Chapter II)

Having grown up in Westphalia, believing it to be "the best of all possible worlds" with the best of all possible people, Candide would have no reason to know of anything or anyone outside that world. Thus, he's ignorant of other peoples and, with the exception of God, doesn't know or love anyone he hasn't seen face to face.

"five feet five inches high..."   (Chapter II)

Mark the exactness of this measurement. Only a few lines earlier, the gentlemen at the inn described Candide as being a fellow of "proper height," suggesting that a person's stature, like their weight, was a sign of great power and social station.

"to give them his note..."   (Chapter II)

The phrase "to give them his note" means to give them an IOU declaring his intent to pay them back for their generosity. Notes such as this were, by and large, a formality and didn't guarantee that the borrower would repay the lender. Candide's offer characterizes as a genteel (but not necessarily financially responsible) young man.

"one of his brethren, an unfeathered biped with a rational soul..."   (Chapter III)

"Brethren" is a plural form of "brother" and "biped" means any creature that walks on two feet and isn't feathered. James witnessed what happened to Candide—a foul event not unlike a baptism in that he was showered in filth instead of water—and now wants to help. He disagrees with the orator both personally and philosophically and feels that the orator should've treated Candide better.

"a good Anabaptist, named James..."   (Chapter III)

Anabaptists were members of a Christian sect that believed people shouldn't be baptized at infancy but should wait until they were old enough to choose to believe in God. Once they had professed their faith, they were then baptized. This character, James, hasn't been baptized yet, but in describing him as "good" Voltaire implies that he most likely will be.

"I want bread..."   (Chapter III)

It seems even Candide has his limits. He's been beaten, imprisoned, starved, and shown the worst side of humanity, and now he doesn't care about the Pope and the Antichrist. Though his optimism hasn't faded, it has been blunted by his hunger, which makes this exchange with the orator especially irritating.

"do you believe the Pope to be Anti-Christ..."   (Chapter III)

Notice the hypocrisy of this line. This orator, who has just delivered a lengthy speech on charity, ignores Candide's request for bread and instead asks him about his religious affiliation. The 18th century was a contentious time in religious history in which many innocent people were persecuted for their religious beliefs or lack thereof. Voltaire uses this hypocritical Christian to build his anti-religious message.

"and now it is necessary I should beg my bread until I learn to earn it..."   (Chapter III)

The phrase "It is necessary I should beg my bread until I learn to earn it," suggests that Candide needs to learn how to make his way in the world. Up until he was thrown out of the Baron's castle, he had been coddled, pampered, taught no worthwhile skills other than to think. He's incapable of supporting himself, but, being Candide, reasons that all of this has happened for a reason and thus approaches it as a learning experience.

"He asked alms of several grave-looking people..."   (Chapter III)

Here we see Candide's optimistic philosophy skewered again: in his innocence, he has been led to believe that all men will treat their fellow men with respect, but when he begins begging (asking "alms"), they threaten to throw him in jail. Thus, we see that every man is out for himself and that the honor Candide believes in has been lost, if indeed it ever existed.

"for private misfortunes make the general good..."   (Chapter IV)

Another way to put this would be that private misfortunes make life in general seem good by comparison, and that in particular the private misfortune of going bankrupt frees up land, assets, and servants to be redistributed. The fact that these lands aren't typically redistributed to the public gives this "general good" an inherently classist overtone.

"mankind have a little corrupted nature..."   (Chapter IV)

In Christian theology, all humans are born with Original Sin, which we inherit from Adam and Eve, who ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. This "corrupted nature" James refers to may be Original Sin, or it may be a flaw that has developed in humanity over time, producing the horrors that James describes.

"He wrote well, and knew arithmetic perfectly..."   (Chapter IV)

This line indicates that the syphilis has not affected Pangloss' brain. In its end stage, syphilis is well-known to cause dementia in people who suffer from it, and given Pangloss' advanced stage of decay this wouldn't be an unreasonable concern. Note, however, that it takes up to twenty years for dementia to develop in syphilis patients, and that Pangloss must've caught it much earlier in life to be this far gone.

"we should have neither chocolate nor cochineal..."   (Chapter IV)

"Cochineal," a reddish dye made from the crushed bodies of female cochineal insects. Both chocolate and cochineal were brought from the Americas by Christopher Columbus and were so highly prized in Europe that Pangloss sees contracting a venereal disease as a fair trade.

"one of the companions of Christopher Columbus..."   (Chapter IV)

In the 18th century, venereal diseases were thought to have come to Europe from Hispaniola in the West Indies, through some followers of Christopher Columbus who later fought in the siege of Naples. From this latter circumstance, a venereal disease was known, for some time, as the Neapolitan disease.

"she was infected with them, she is perhaps dead of them..."   (Chapter IV)

His "hell torments" are, in fact, sexually transmitted diseases, which he contracted after having unprotected sex with Paquette, the young servant we saw in Chapter I. Note, however, that there are no known sexual diseases that cause the symptoms Pangloss suffers from, and that it's very unlikely that he would lose his teeth because of it. Here, we can see Voltaire exaggerating the punishment for Pangloss' sins for comedic effect.

"recalled his senses with a little bad vinegar..."   (Chapter IV)

Taken literally, this line means that Pangloss uses the bad vinegar as smelling salts to wake Candide back up. One could also read this line to mean that Pangloss has brought Candide back to his senses, or in other words reminded him of his education and his upbringing, which makes his fainting here very unbecoming, given that he's a man of letters.

"The spectre..."   (Chapter IV)

The word "spectre" typically refers to a supernatural apparition or a ghost, but is here used metaphorically to refer to the "spectre" of this beggar, who, as we soon learn, is actually Candide's former teacher, Pangloss, here presented as a ghost of his former self because he no longer commands the same respect as he did.

"you do not then believe in liberty..."   (Chapter V)

The Familiar asks Pangloss whether or not he believes in Free Will. In Christian theology, Free Will is opposed to determinism or fate. Pangloss doesn't get to finish his thought here, but he seems to believe that the illusion of Free Will is necessary even though every effect already has a pre-determined cause.

"Familiar of the Inquisition..."   (Chapter V)

A Familiar was an officer of the Spanish Inquisition, a Roman Catholic tribunal established in the 15th Century to control heresy and to pass judgment on the wicked. Today, the Spanish Inquisition is most well-known for its barbaric acts of torture, which including quartering their prisoners and burning them at the stake. To cross a Familiar of the Inquisition meant almost certain death.

"Nothing more probable..."   (Chapter V)

The speed with which Candide responds here should indicate to the reader that he's only attempting to humor Pangloss and that he just agrees with him to speed up the process of getting the oil and wine. That he speaks to Pangloss this way suggests both that he knows his teacher is more interested in proving his point than helping others and that he's beginning to question his philosophy altogether.

"I maintain that the point is capable of being demonstrated..."   (Chapter V)

True to form, Pangloss cares more about being right and proving his theories than about Candide's actual wellbeing or the reality of their situation. That he refuses to honor Candide's request and allows the boy to faint suggests that he's unaware of the damage his theories can do.

"get me a little wine and oil..."   (Chapter V)

At some Christian burials, priests were known to throw wheat, wine, and oil onto a coffin. This practice likely derives from ancient Greece, where wine, oil, milk, and honey were poured over a grave to honor the dead. Candide, having never experienced wounds this severe, thinks that he will die soon and wants to ensure that Pangloss gives him a proper burial.

"I trampled upon the crucifix in four voyages to Japan..."   (Chapter V)

The Japanese had such a strong aversion to the Christian faith that they compelled Europeans trading with them to trample on the cross, renounce all tenets of Christianity, then swear that it wan't their faith. Traders who did so weren't considered heretics or heathens because this was considered a necessary aspect of trade, not unlike how Pangloss overlooks his venereal disease because visiting America also resulted in chocolate.

"While he was proving this à priori..."   (Chapter V)

A Latin phrase meaning “from the cause to the effect,” "a priori" is a type of deductive reasoning that derives a specific conclusion from a general circumstance. Today, when arguments are referred to as "a priori," they're being criticized for working backward logically in order to create a "cause" for an effect without accounting for the fact that there are multiple possible causes for any one effect. Thus, Pangloss' reasoning is proven wrong in that it jumps to one conclusion without considering any other possibilities.

"without knowing for what..."   (Chapter VI)

In all likelihood, Pangloss understood that he was being persecuted by the Inquisition for his beliefs. Candide, however, as a young man unfamiliar with the Inquisition, doesn't understand anything that has happened. It should also be noted that this wasn't the usual format of the Inquisition, and that one's crimes or heretical beliefs were almost always made public so that one could be made an example of by the Church. Voltaire sidesteps this to enhance the absurdity of the situation.

"all palpitating..."   (Chapter VI)

To "palpitate" means to quiver, throb, or pulse. In this case, Candide's palpitations are caused by the pain of his wounds, which throb with the beating of his heart as blood is pumped into them. Notice how often Candide has suffered physically in this novel: he's been whipped, survived a shipwreck, run the gauntlet, and fainted many times. His resilience is astounding and, as Voltaire suggests, somewhat deranged.

"but Pangloss's devils had claws and tails and the flames were upright..."   (Chapter VI)

Notice that Candide's garments are different than Pangloss', indicating that they've been accused of different crimes. Candide's downward flames indicate that he has repented (or, in this case, only been an accessory to Pangloss' heretical claims). Pangloss' upward flames indicate that he will receive the harsher punishment of the two.

"the other for having listened with an air of approbation..."   (Chapter VI)

The term "approbation" means approval or praise, Under the Spanish Inquisition, one could be persecuted for one's thoughts as well as one's actions, and one need not actually have sinned to be accused of and punished for that sin. Thus, many innocent people such as Candide were killed without any apologies from the Roman Catholic Church.

"The old woman desired they would make less noise..."   (Chapter VII)

At this point in the narrative, it's unclear how many people know that Cunegonde is alive and whether or not it's safe to reveal her identity to anyone. Keeping quiet is necessary to keep the neighbors and the townsfolk from suspecting anything.

"The old woman supplies a smelling bottle..."   (Chapter VII)

Recall that Pangloss did much the same thing for Candide when he fainted in the stable upon hearing of Cunegonde's supposed death. Thus Voltaire implies that their tendency to faint is a product of their youth and innocence, which both emphasizes the characteristics that they share and the ways in which they differ from their older, less innocent counterparts.

"wished to kiss her hand..."   (Chapter VII)

Recall that Candide was kicked out of the Baron's castle in Chapter I for similarly kissing Cunegonde's hand. Voltaire uses this parallel to show us that Candide hasn't changed and that he's still a very polite, innocent young man. Voltaire also juxtaposes the old woman's hospitality with the orator's cruelty to show that not all believers are hypocritical.

"our lady of Atocha, the great St. Anthony of Padua, and the great St. James of Compostella..."   (Chapter VII)

These are all saints deified in the Roman Catholic Church. Our Lady of Atocha watches over the people of Madrid, St. Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of lost or stolen items, and St. James of Compostella is the patron saint of pilgrims. The old woman has effectively characterized Candide as a lost pilgrim, although where he's going and what he believes in is in question.

"the Jewish Sabbath..."   (Chapter VIII)

The Jewish Sabbath, as opposed to the Christian Sabbath, occurs on Saturday instead of Sunday. It is observed from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday, which means that Don Issachar's arrival can be timestamped at sometime after supper but before the first stars came out. There is, of course, a lewd suggestion to the fact that he has come only at night and not earlier in the day.

"and especially with the kiss I gave you..."   (Chapter VIII)

Notice that after all these horrors, Cunegonde thinks most of the kiss she and Candide shared in Chapter I. This is yet another example of her hopeless naivete: in spite of all the atrocities she has suffered so far, she's still a lovestruck teenager and is willing to risk putting both herself and Candide in danger in order to see him again.

"that of my Bulgarian captain..."   (Chapter VIII)

Cunegonde has made a point of saying that she has been virtuous since meeting the Bulgarian captain, but this line, like the one about the captain being of "good shape," suggests otherwise. It may be that Cunegonde wants Candide to believe that she's been more virtuous than she actually has, so that he won't think less of her.

"why I am still beloved..."   (Chapter VIII)

If Cunegonde had given in to the Grand Inquisitor and Don Issachar, this line implies, they wouldn't love her anymore—the logic being that a man is only interested in what he can't get, and that once a woman appears to no longer be virtuous he doesn't consider her beautiful or worthwhile.

"which resembled that of Pangloss..."   (Chapter VIII)

Note the use of the word "resembled" here. In the last chapter, Cunegonde made it clear that she didn't know that Pangloss was dead, and yet here she says that she saw it quite clearly. Voltaire may well have chosen the word "resembled" to close this plot hole and move the story along.

"that he wished to speak on private matters..."   (Chapter VIII)

This should be understood as a euphemism for wanting a chance to seduce her. The Grand Inquisitor, as the head of the Inquisition, was more likely a lawyer or scholar than a religious figure, and would thus not have been bound by any oaths of chastity. However, this desire to "save" a woman enslaved to one man by enslaving her to another reveals the essential hypocrisy of the Grand Inquisitor, whose self-interest is readily apparent here.

"tractable..."   (Chapter VIII)

The word "tractable" means easily managed, docile, and in this case, pliant, in the sense that she could be coerced into providing sexual favors. He plans to do this by bringing her to his country house, which is even more lavish than the castle she grew up in with Candide. It's clear from the following passage that this plan isn't successful.

"I hope I shall see it..."   (Chapter VIII)

Given the horrific nature of Cunegonde's story, this is a shockingly inappropriate response from Candide, and one that has upsettingly sexual overtones. It's especially strange that Cunegonde herself relates this story in an emotionless, matter-of-fact way, which suggests that Voltaire made a conscious choice not to delve too deeply into Cunegonde's psychology.

"for there is no time to hesitate. This reasoning was clear and instantaneous..."   (Chapter IX)

Voltaire takes great pains to show the reader that Candide acts on instinct rather than in accordance with this philosophical training. He still takes a half second to reason through the situation, but this kind of reasoning isn't a priori but rather straightforward, direct, and fluid, moving logically from cause to effect rather than from effect to cause. This is the best reasoning Candide has yet displayed. Ironically, his reasoning leads to murder.

"let us consult the old woman..."   (Chapter IX)

At this point in the narrative, we have no reason to believe that this old woman can in any way serve as a good substitute for Pangloss, or, indeed, that she is even particularly wise. Thus far, she has merely been following the orders of Cunegonde, which means that they're turning to her not for her wisdom but out of a youthful naivete that makes anyone older than them appear wiser.

"had received a handsome sword from the old woman..."   (Chapter IX)

Note that this is the first we've heard of this "handsome sword." Unlike other writers, Voltaire doesn't bother to establish facts ahead of time, instead presenting them as necessary when he needs to get his main characters out of trouble. This style of writing has the effect of rendering the story in many ways unbelievable, which only enhances the comedic aspects of Voltaire's satire.

"poniard..."   (Chapter IX)

A "poniard" is a lightweight sword, similar to a parrying dagger, common in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Historically, the poniard has been worn by noblemen and knight, and its presence here indicates to the reader that Don Issachar is of the former class and that his great wealth has allowed him to avoid persecution at the hands of the Inquisition.

"Galilean..."   (Chapter IX)

A reference to Galilee, a city in northern Israel where Jesus Christ was said to have lived for the first thirty or so years of his life. Jesus's ministry was housed there, and many of his works take place around the Sea of Galilee. To call Cunegonde a "Galilean" in this derogatory way is to call her a Christian.

"since the Captivity in Babylon..."   (Chapter IX)

The Jewish people were enslaved in Babylonia in the Sixth Century B.C.E. This is one of the earliest examples of Anti-Semitism and set the stage for later and more drastic instances of persecution, such as the Holocaust. For Don Issachar to be the most choleric Jew since this captivity means that he's almost as angry as people were when they were enslaved.

"but..."   (Chapter X)

This "but" should be understood to mean, "I hear what you're saying, but I totally disagree." Cunegonde, remember, has suffered far more than Candide has and has already given up on Pangloss' philosophy. When she says, "I love you with all my heart," it's as if she's saying she can't believe Candide could still believe in that after everything that has happened.

"so graceful an address, with so intrepid an air..."   (Chapter X)

"Address" in this context should be taken to mean "manner" or form, while "intrepid" means fearless or brave. Recall that back in Chapter II Candide performed his army drills so well that he was considered a hero in the Bulgarian army before he was labeled a deserter and forced to run the gauntlet. Candide's aptitude as a soldier further characterizes him as a follower rather than a freethinker.

"a Benedictine prior..."   (Chapter X)

A prior is an officer of the Church, typically the official of an abbey or a small congregation. A Benedictine prior is a member and leader of a small group of monks in the Benedictine Order, a Roman Catholic group of monks and nuns dedicated to serving God through good deeds. This prior, unlike the Grey Friar, isn't depicted as corrupt, and likely pays a cheap price for the horse because his abbey isn't very rich.

"and that each has an equal right to them..."   (Chapter X)

Recall that in Chapter IV Pangloss expressed this same belief to the Anabaptist James when he said that private misfortunes increase the general good. It's this kind of thinking, of course, that got Pangloss in trouble with the Inquisition, so it's unwise for Candide to espouse it here.

"but he came into our room twice..."   (Chapter X)

Given his status as a brother in the Franciscan Order, a group of Roman Catholic monks, it's likely that the Grey Friar came to pray with the group, but it also seems possible that he snuck into their room while they were resting. Either way, the result is that they're broke and the Grey Friar is corrupt.

"Where find Inquisitors or Jews who will give me more..."   (Chapter X)

This line is very telling. If Cunegonde really only cared about Candide and being with him, it wouldn't matter that her money and jewels had been stolen and she wouldn't want to find other men like the Grand Inquisitor and Don Issachar to give them to her, so the fact that she does indeed want this suggests that she's more superficial than she lets on and expects a certain level of luxury that Candide can't provide.

"Mount Atlas..."   (Chapter XI)

Technically, the old woman isn't referring to Mount Atlas, a volcano in Antarctica, but to the Atlas Mountains, a range of mountains that runs through Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. The inhabitants of this region, in her mind, stand in for all African peoples, and demonstrate her racism.

"scimitar..."   (Chapter XI)

A "scimitar" is a short, single-edged sword with a curved blade, traditionally used in Turkey and the Middle East and thus associated with Muslims, Moors, and those of vaguely Middle Eastern descent. As a pirate, the captain pirate is unlikely to have protected the old woman over the Princess, which suggests that, though he raped her, he has grown fond of her, as implied when he thought taking her virginity showed her "a great deal of honor."

"so common in Africa..."   (Chapter XI)

Africans were thought by racist, colonialist Europeans to be warlike and hyper-sexualized people. Often, Europeans used this belief that Africans would rape their women and slaughter their children to justify genocide and the subjugation of the African peoples. In this passage, we can clearly see the impact that these racist ideas have had on the international community.

"the Princess of Palestrina and myself..."   (Chapter XI)

Notice that the old woman doesn't refer to the Princess of Palestrina as her mother, as would be natural in this situation. This evident lack of familiarity provides further proof that the old woman has been lying, while at the same time suggesting that she may well have been a maid of the Princess and experienced all the things she has described.

"like the Pope's soldiers..."   (Chapter XI)

The Pope doesn't technically have an army or soldiers, but is protected within the Vatican City and on missions by the Swiss Guards, a group of Swiss soldiers that watches over the Holy See, or the capital of the Catholic world, and (less famously) over some small foreign courts. Early Swiss Guards were typically mercenaries bought to protect the Vatican City and were thus prone to surrendering at the first sign of danger, as is depicted here.

"a bagatelle..."   (Chapter XI)

A "bagatelle" is a trifle, or a thing of no importance. Given how much time the old woman has spent building up to this moment, it's hard to believe that she considers it merely a bagatelle. It is, instead, relatively unimportant compared to the other horrors she's suffered, as we will see in the rest of her story.

"pomp and magnificence..."   (Chapter XI)

We typically see this phrase as "pomp and circumstance," referring to a showy or ostentatious display, often one of great self-importance, such as a marriage ceremony or graduation. As the daughter of the Princess, this pomp would've been expected and in no way "surprising," which calls the old woman's description into question.

"with idolatry, with transport..."   (Chapter XI)

In this context, "idolatry" means adoration or a kind of fierce romantic idolization between two lovers, while "transport" means emotionally resonant or powerful, a kind of love that transported the old woman and moved her in some way (likely into believing that this love would last forever). One could argue that both Cunegonde and Candide feel this kind of love.

"affianced..."   (Chapter XI)

The word "affianced" means engaged to be married. In the mid-18th century and in some parts of the world today, marriages were arranged by parents, and their children had little to no say in their spouses. These arranged marriages were often political in nature, functioning like treaties between two kingdoms or cities. In this case, that treaty would be between Palestrina and Massa Carara.

"Venus of Medici..."   (Chapter XI)

The Venus de Medici, a marble copy of a bronze sculpture created in ancient Greece in the 1st Century BCE. It's currently housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Rome and, though not as famous as the Venus de Milo, is considered to be one of the models of classic Western ideals of beauty. Voltaire makes this comparison to the Venus de Medici in order to evoke sympathy from the reader.

"Palestrina..."   (Chapter XI)

Palestrina is an ancient Italian city just to the east of Rome. In 1630, it and its surrounding lands were bought by the Barberini family, one of the wealthiest Italian families of the time, who treated the city like a small kingdom and declared themselves princes and princesses. As the daughter of the Princess, the old woman would've been considered (within Palestrina, at least) royalty, which makes her current state all the more remarkable.

"much more affected with your misfortunes than with my own..."   (Chapter XII)

Recall that in Chapter X, when the old woman began telling this story, she did so because she wanted to prove that Cunegonde had never experienced true suffering in the way the old woman had. Yet here she claims that Cunegonde's misfortunes have been more affecting or moving than her own. Since she can't have it both ways, it would appear that she's using this story to elicit sympathy from her companions, who might otherwise seek to get rid of her.

"they resolved also to devour the women..."   (Chapter XII)

In Muslim communities, women are considered subservient to men, which reduces their status to a second sex that's bound to obey the laws of males, however unjust those laws may be. Thus, though they are all starving, the Janissaries choose to devour the women rather than sacrifice one of their own, both out of a sense of camaraderie and their enduring sexism.

"a very pious and humane Iman..."   (Chapter XII)

An Iman, or Imam, is the leader of a mosque and the one who guides Muslims in prayer. Within smaller Muslim communities, the Imam was considered the highest local authority, which would make this Imam, though lesser in military rank than the Aga, still more powerful than the Janissaries, who were obliged to listen to him.

"the plague..."   (Chapter XII)

The Bubonic Plague, which killed off some 25 to 50 million people in Europe in the 13th and 14th Centuries. It was also known as the Black Death and can still be found in certain parts of Africa. In the 17th Century, when this book is set, there was no major outbreak of the Bubonic Plague, which makes the old woman's statements factually inaccurate.

"the Dey..."   (Chapter XII)

"Dey" was the title given to the ruler of the regency of Algiers under the Ottoman Empire from 1671 to 1830, when the French conquered Algeria. It's highly unlikely, however, that a mere eunuch would have the opportunity to sell a woman to the king or any of his subordinates. The old woman's story has, in time, become fantastical beyond belief, but still keeps with the logic of the book as a whole.

"can you be that young princess..."   (Chapter XII)

Some read this line as further indication that the old woman is lying. If she's really the daughter of the Princess, then this man, who worked for the Princess should recognize her, if not because he raised her until the age of six, then because her face would've been well-known within the kingdom.

"to pique yourself upon inviolable fidelity..."   (Chapter XIII)

To "pique" means to anger or irritate, or to incite resentment. In this case, it means that by breaking her inviolable vow to Candide and remaining faithful, she risks ruining their relationship and creating enmity between them by turning down a marriage proposal from a man who can save her from a life of poverty and misery.

"Cunegonde asked a quarter of an hour to consider of it..."   (Chapter XIII)

Notice that Cunegonde doesn't ask for enough time to also consult Candide, who's out reviewing the Governor's men and won't return until later that day. This suggests that, though she love Candide, she is all too willing to forsake him in order to be rich again—further proof that she is a superficial, if naive, character.

"a good drubbing..."   (Chapter XIII)

To "drub" means to beat or to thrash, particularly with a weapon like a cudgel. Voltaire makes this Governor as insufferable as possible so that the reader, encountering him here, will align themselves with his enemies and resist any relationship he might have with the three companions.

"to make a few objections...."   (Chapter XIII)

In this passage, Candide longs for a philosophical discussion, which he believes his female companions cannot provide. On the one hand, this is an expression of boredom, which is to be expected on a long journey. On the other, this displays a desire to show off and prove himself more intelligent than the women, who don't share his philosophy.

"and I was going to fight against you..."   (Chapter XIV)

This line shouldn't be read as if Candide is stating a fact but rather as if he's saying, "And to think, I was going to fight against you." He can't believe the absurdity of it or his good fortune in not having fought in this war. It's almost an aside to himself, where he expresses both his surprise and his pleasure.

"You, the brother of the fair Cunegonde..."   (Chapter XIV)

Notice that this is the third person reputed to have died at the castle of Thunder-ten-Tronckh: first Pangloss, then Cunegonde, and now her brother. The order in which they appear to return from the dead also happens to be their order of importance to Candide, who loves his teacher first, Cunegonde second, and anyone else third.

"my arbor..."   (Chapter XIV)

The arbor in this context refers to a garden alcove, typically bounded on all sides and roofed with winding plants, which are often grown on a latticed wooden framework. The Commandant's arbor would be an alcove in his personal garden outside of his living quarters, making his offer to speak to Candide there a sign of some hospitality, though not as notable a sign as if he'd invited Candide into his home.

"a spontoon..."   (Chapter XIV)

Also known as an espontoon or a half-pike, a "spontoon" is a kind of weapon like a pole with a double-edged blade at one end and a handle at the other. It's called a half-pike because it's shorter, with a handle almost as long as the blade. It was often carried by officers of the infantry and used as a method of signaling orders to the regiment. This entire description of the Commandant, including the clothes he wears and the weapons he carries, suggests that he's a leader and not necessarily a great warrior.

"His name was Cacambo..."   (Chapter XIV)

Notice the parallels that Voltaire draws between Candide and Don Quixote: they both embark on absurd adventures, they both espouse religious philosophies, and they both have a companion, a Spaniard, who rides with him (Cacambo on an Andalusian horse, and Sancho Panza on a donkey). Voltaire often borrows from classic literature in this way.

"singing-boy, sacristan, sailor, monk..."   (Chapter XIV)

A "sacristan" is a priest, or a sexton of a small parish church. In listing all of the valet's former occupations, Voltaire begins by alternating between religious and secular positions. Though these professions aren't necessarily listed in order, there aren't any religious positions after that of "monk," suggesting that the valet has concluded his professional relationship with the Church.

"a valet..."   (Chapter XIV)

The word "valet" refers to a personal man-servant or attendant, typically charged with dressing his master and preparing him for journeys. As a captain in a small army, Candide would've been entitled to at least such valet, whose primary duties would be to care for his weapons, horses, and military uniforms.

"and we must die sword in hand..."   (Chapter XV)

Candide, being so young and good-natured, has no instinct for self-preservation other than the one to kill. He isn't devious in the way Cacambo or the old woman are, and he can't think on his feet. In a book full of priests, philosophers, nobleman, and Grand Inquisitors, it's ironic that the only people who know how to save themselves are the servants.

"bast the most consummate effrontery to dare to mention so presumptuous a design..."   (Chapter XV)

"Bast" being short for "bastard," an illegitimate child such as Candide. The Baron finds this plan ("design") presumptuous and offensive, and refers to it as a "consummate effrontery," or a complete, shameless insolence. As a bastard, Candide would never be allowed to marry Cunegonde, and her brother here takes after their father by refusing to allow it.

"some years after I was sent to Rome..."   (Chapter XV)

This is the first indication to the reader that a significant amount of time has passed in the course of the book. Voltaire's writing style has the effect of making all the book's events appear to happen in quick succession, but, as we learn here, a significant amount of time has passed, which means that Candide and Cunegonde, who were teens when this began, are likely now in their mid to late twenties.

"conceived the tenderest friendship for me..."   (Chapter XV)

Notice the uncomfortable juxtaposition of Father Didrie's interest and Cunegonde's brother's beauty. Even in the 1700s, it was well-known that priests and other prominent religious officials often engaged in sexual relationships with young men, particularly boys who sang in the choir or went on to the priesthood. This tendency has been the cause of many scandals but is used here as the butt of a joke.

"like men of sense..."   (Chapter XVI)

In this case, the phrase "men of sense" means that they didn't reveal Candide's whereabouts or suggest that they knew the Baron's killer, but rather played dumb, seeking information about Jesuit robes that they likely claimed they "found" somewhere in the jungles.

"he went on eating..."   (Chapter XVI)

Note the parallel between Candide's inability to commit suicide or to give up on life with the old woman's theories about life in Chapter XII, where she states that, though many people would like to die and end their misery, they continue to cling to life out of a deranged sense of persistence. So Candide goes on eating here, though his optimism has entirely failed him.

"Journal of Trevoux..."   (Chapter XVI)

The Mémoires of Trevoux, a French academic journal founded in 1701 by the Jesuits. It was a prominent journal in France, appearing once a month and containing scholarly and theological articles written both by Jesuits and people of other Christian sects. As a young German, Candide isn't terribly likely to know of this journal, though Voltaire may be overlooking that fact to make a clever reference to a Jesuit periodical.

"with the greatest circumspection..."   (Chapter XVII)

The phrase "greatest circumspection" means with great care or hesitation. These chapmen and wagoners are working men and laborers who, by virtue of living together in a small but rich community, most likely know each other and can thus recognize Candide and Cacambo as strangers. Their caution, then, seems incredibly prudent, and speaks well of their character.

"truants..."   (Chapter XVII)

In general, to be "truant" means to be lazy, idle, or knavish, and to go about like a vagabond. More commonly, however, the word refers to children who have skipped school or are absent, as these children are here. In a society as rich as this, one wouldn't expect there to be any such problems, suggesting that this word, paired with the diminutive "little," is used affectionately or jokingly to refer to these playful kids.

"upon a footing with the rest..."   (Chapter XVIII)

The phrase "upon foot with the rest," suggests that they will be of the same standing or on the same level as all the citizens of El Dorado. They believe that they will be the wealthiest and most prosperous if they take some of the gold from El Dorado back to Europe. Considering the danger they faced in reaching El Dorado and how much they lost, it seems unlikely that they'll succeed in this plan.

"Sir Walter Raleigh..."   (Chapter XVIII)

An English explorer, soldier, and politician, Sir Walter Raleigh was the first Englishman commissioned to explore the state we now know as Virginia. He never visited North America himself, but did send men to found the ill-fated Roanoke Colony. Today, he's better known for leading expeditions to find El Dorado in 1595 and 1617. He was, of course, unsuccessful.

"and wait for you at Venice..."   (Chapter XIX)

Venice, once a major kingdom in Italy, was nearly destroyed by the Black Death and suffered a long decline after the glory days of the Renaissance. In 1797, just a few decades after Candide was written, Venice became a territory of Austria, but at the time it was still a "free" state in the sense of it being a port of trade that didn't answer to any of the kingdoms Candide is afraid of now.

"I must at last renounce thy optimism..."   (Chapter XIX)

Notice, however, that this is Chapter XIX of the book, and that there are still eleven chapters to go. If we understood Candide's character arc to be a gradual disillusionment with Pangloss' philosophy, then this would appear to be the end of his character's development; but, since there's more to the story, we can only assume that there's more to Candide's character arc as well.

"one moiety of his clothes..."   (Chapter XIX)

"Moiety" meaning "half." This black man has evidently been stripped of his clothes and beaten, left to die in a position not only dangerous (given his wounds and blood loss) but also embarrassing. Thankfully, neither Candide nor Cacambo care much for his nudity, and they're able to help him out of this situation.

"he inclined to Pangloss's doctrine..."   (Chapter XX)

Recall that in the previous chapter Candide forsook this philosophy after hearing how the black man was treated by his white "fetiches," or priests. Here, Candide seems to have forgotten his pessimism and revered to his naive, hopeful state, in which he desires Cunegonde above all else.

"Surely you must be possessed by the devil..."   (Chapter XX)

Though Manichaeism was a prominent religion from the 3rd to the 8th Centuries, it was widely persecuted and all but destroyed by the Middle Ages. In Voltaire's time, the word was used pejoratively to refer to anyone who believed in a dualistic philosophy where good and evil were always struggling for power (as opposed to Christian theologies where good won out in the end). This disdain is evident in Candide's response.

"men..."   (Chapter XXII)

Candide uses the word men to refer to men of character and moral fiber, not to the "men" he's met on his journeys, the liars, beggars, false Friars, and philanderers who've cheated him. In this, we can hear a shadow of the phrase "real man," which is often used in a pejorative sense when someone isn't living up to the standard of being a "real" man.

"The Baroness of Thunder-ten Tronckh was more polite..."   (Chapter XXII)

Recall that the Baroness, a large woman described as being of very high social status, was not a particularly nice person. In fact, with the one exception of Cunegonde, the entire Thunder-ten-Tronckh family was made up of pompous, classist people who make Candide and Pangloss seem holy by comparison.

"noticed with lynx eyes..."   (Chapter XXII)

The lynx is a small, cat-like creature known for its keen eyesight. The hostess with lynx eyes is thus characterized as being very observant, astute, and wise, able to tell when the players are cheating and dog-earring their cards.

"who was naturally curious..."   (Chapter XXII)

Candide is still a virgin and much of his desire to find Cunegonde is the desire to marry her and thus lose his virginity. Voltaire casually tosses off this line to suggest that he's merely intellectually curious about Parisian women, even though readers know that he's likely interested in something else.

"Miss Monime..."   (Chapter XXII)

This is a reference to Adrienne Lecouvreur (1690 – 1730), a famous French actress who, because she was an actress when she died, was denied the right of a Christian burial. The name Miss Monime may be taken from the play Mithridate, written by famed French dramatist Racine, in which the character Monime falls in love with Xiphares, a young man who isn't her fiancé. The character of Monime was based on a Macedonian noblewoman married to King Mithridates.

"What a number..."   (Chapter XXII)

Here, we can clearly see Voltaire expressing his own opinions about the state of French drama, which was evidently deplorable. The most famous French dramatist of the time was Moliere, the author of plays like The Invalid and Tartuffe. (Voltaire once described his character Mahomet as being like Tartuffe, but with armies.)

"a little Abbé of Perigord..."   (Chapter XXII)

An abbot of the French region of Perigord, which was well known for its truffles. This abbot would have no real authority or position in the Church, but would work informally as a professor or tutor. As a result, the abbot has become an unpleasant busybody, insinuating himself in situations in order to gain more power and influence than he really deserves.

"atrabilious..."   (Chapter XXIII)

The word "atrabilious" means that one is much affected by black bile, one of the four "humours" in the theory of Humorism, which posits that one's temperament is dictated by the balance of one's bodily fluids or "humours." To have too much black bile means to be melancholic, or in others words despondent, serious, and acrimonious. Martin means that these people are very unpleasant to be around.

"Senator Pococurante..."   (Chapter XXIV)

In Spanish, "Pococurante" means "little care" or one of little care. The Senator's name characterizes him as a self-centered and insensitive person, whom we will discover to be hedonistic, corrupt, and not as happy as they say he is, in spite of all his power.

"You see that already I have won half the wager..."   (Chapter XXIV)

This line, written as a humorous punch, both lightens the tone after Paquette's upsetting story and proves to readers that most people have, indeed, led a terrible life in this book. It also reveals to us something of Martin's character: one would expect that, after hearing a story like that, he would attempt to comfort Paquette and to lift her spirits, but instead he cracks a joke. This shows just how heartless his pessimism has made him.

"I would venture to lay a wager that they are very happy..."   (Chapter XXIV)

Notice the similarity between this wager and that posed by the old woman at the end of Chapter XII, when she bet that every passenger on the ship had a terrible life. It's reasonable to expect that Candide, having been on the losing side of that wager, and himself having experienced so much misery, would've learned his lesson, but he hasn't, and this fact alone suggests that he never will.

"that there is some pleasure in having no pleasure..."   (Chapter XXV)

This paradox perfectly describes the Senator's predicament: he cares for nothing, and, in caring for nothing, finds that he cares most for his inability to care, cultivating it to the point where he can usually speak of his disdain for some of the greatest literary figures without so much as batting an eye. Another way to put this would be that some people seem to revel in their misery, as it appears Martin often does.

"Plato..."   (Chapter XXV)

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato divided the soul into three parts: the heart, the mind, and the stomach. In The Republic, perhaps his most famous work, Plato argues that the stomach is the source of all desire for things like food, money, and sex. One who doesn't like any food, therefore, is someone for whom life has become passionless, making the Senator into an essentially unfeeling and disagreeable person.

"whether he pleads for Rabirius or Cluentius..."   (Chapter XXV)

Cicero was an attorney and made grand speeches in defense of his client that are still read today for their intellectual rigor, clarity of expression, and understanding of the moral obligations of the law. That the Senator cares nothing for Cicero's understanding of the law suggests that he's no longer particularly interested in his job or, indeed, in anything.

"Cicero..."   (Chapter XXV)

Cicero was a Roman politician, philosopher, and orator well known for his inspired prose and his theories on law, governance, and truth. One of his works, De Officis, was the second book ever to be printed after the invention of the printing press (the first was the Gutenberg Bible). Notice that Candide holds the philosopher Cicero in higher esteem than the poet Horace, which confirms what we already know of his priorities.

"I like only that which serves my purpose..."   (Chapter XXV)

The phrase "I like only that which serves my purpose" could be said of Pangloss, Candide, Martin, and all of the philosophers and critics in this book, who all choose to believe the things that fit into their personal theories about life but then ignore everything that doesn't. The Grand Inquisitor, for instance, liked only the theology that kept him in power, which led him to condemn Pangloss and sentence the philosopher to be hanged.

"when I think I see nature itself..."   (Chapter XXV)

This line, though it would appear to be a somewhat simplistic critique of Renaissance paintings, actually builds on the theme of nature and, in particular, human nature that has been developing in the book. The collector's assertion that he wants to see nature in art begs the question, "What is natural?" The reader is left to ponder what human characteristics he'd like to see in the portraits, and if his idea of nature aligns more with Pangloss's or with Martin's.

"But Candide paid no regard to these newcomers..."   (Chapter XXVI)

Again, we can see the sharp gender divide in Candide's world, where the plight of women (even these Serene Highnesses) means less and is given less attention than the plight of their male counterparts. That Candide ignores the Serene Highnesses both emphasizes his desire to return to Cunegonde and his generalized misogyny, which is made apparent in his disregard for women in this scene.

"Theodore..."   (Chapter XXVI)

Theodore I of Corsica was a German adventurer and son of a nobleman from Westphalia. In Genoa, Italy, he met a group of Corsican exiles, whom he convinced to elect him king so that he could free Corsica from Genoese rule. His failure to free them led to his leaving Corsica, which in turn resulted in him being imprisoned in London, where he declared bankruptcy and ceded his kingdom to his creditors.

"I have been twice dethroned..."   (Chapter XXVI)

Stanislaw I of Poland reigned twice, from 1704 to 1709 and from 1733 to 1766. In 1709, he was deposed by Augustus II the Strong, who had been king before him until the nobility forced him to abdicate. In 1733 following Augustus' death Stanislaw returned from exile to regain the throne, reigning for three years until he was deposed. He spent the remainder of his life as the Duke of Lorraine.

"Charles Edward..."   (Chapter XXVI)

Charles Edward Stuart, commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, was the second Jabot pretender to the throne of England, who reigned from 1766 to 1788. He's most famous for his instigating the Jacobite Uprising of 1745, in which many of his supporters died while he vied for the throne. It's unclear where in his timeline this story takes place, but it would appear that it occurred somewhere between 1755, the year of the earthquake, and 1766, the year of his ascension to the throne.

"Ivan..."   (Chapter XXVI)

Ivan VI Antonovich of Russia was declared Emperor of Russia while still an infant but was soon deposed by Elizabeth the Great of Russia, daughter of Peter I, who was the Emperor of Russia until his death in 1682. Peter's brother, Ivan V, took the throne, leaving it to his son, the Ivan seen here, whose fate we learn in this passage.

"Grand Sultan..."   (Chapter XXVI)

The title, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, is equivalent to a king or emperor. Sultan Ahmed III reigned from 1703 to 1730, when he was deposed by Mahmud I. Voltaire mistakenly states that Mahmud I is the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire at this point in the narrative, even though his reign ended in 1754, the year before the Great Lisbon Earthquake.

"is this the great philosopher..."   (Chapter XXVII)

Notice Martin's incredulity when meeting Pangloss for the first time. At this point in the narrative, Pangloss has already lost an eye, an ear, and several teeth, as well as contracted syphilis and been hanged in an auto-da-fe. He shouldn't have survived, just as the Baron shouldn't have recovered from his stab wound, and yet Voltaire's story has prepared readers for this surprise by virtue of its narrative absurdity. Thus, readers can accept their appearance.

"A cadi..."   (Chapter XXVIII)

A "cadi" is a civil judge in some Middle Eastern communities, particularly among the Turks, Arabs, and Persians. This cadi has imprisoned the Baron for bathing naked with a young Muslim man (in what we can assume is a euphemism for sex). The Baron, you'll remember, has had many close "friendships" with men in the church, as we learned in Chapter XV. These homosexual relationships were strictly forbidden and could easily have resulted in a death sentence for the Baron.

"condescending..."   (Chapter XXIX)

The verb "condescending" means to look down upon or to treat someone with great disdain. Here, Voltaire uses it to mean that Candide has lowered himself by offering to marry Cunegonde even though she's ugly. In this line, we can clearly see the limits of Candide's goodness: he thinks of marrying Cunegonde as an act of kindness, which paradoxically makes it very cruel.

"but let us cultivate our garden..."   (Chapter XXX)

Some critics believe that these final lines illustrate how Voltaire's characters are finally taking control of their lives. Their garden has become a symbol of their destiny, which they're finally creating rather than allowing the world to decide for them. Their decision to work in the garden and stop philosophizing has allowed them to at last be content. In the end, Voltaire's message is that individuals should just live their lives rather than spend all their time thinking about what it all means.

"Dervish..."   (Chapter XXX)

A "Dervish" is a Muslim friar, like the Grey Friar in Chapter X, who has taken vows of chastity and austerity. Dervishes are known for their sometimes dramatic religious practices, such as dancing and whirling. Here, the Dervish is figured as a wise man, which should in itself suggest that he's no better than Pangloss or any of the philosophers and religious officials readers have met thus far.

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