CANDIDE Candide was a true believer in Pangloss' theory that all was well in the world. "Pangloss proved admirably that there is no effect without a cause and that in this best of all possible worlds... things cannot be otherwise for since everything is made for an end, everything is necessarily for the best end. Observe that noses were made to wear spectacles; and so we have spectacles. Legs were visibly instituted to be breech ed, and we have breeches." (p.
4) Even though these ideas can be considered illogical in real life. Candide and the rest of the people living in the Baron's castle never questioned the validity of Pangloss' philosophy. Maybe their conformity was due to a lack of experience, the belief at the time that doctors and philosophers were always right, or obvious but inconsistent truths like "The Baron was one of the most powerful lords in Westphalia, for his castle possessed a door and windows." Although it was obvious that the Baron was powerful, the doors and windows of his castle have nothing to do with the Baron's power. Candide was obviously na " ive, but so were most of the characters in the story, since they didn't bother to question Pangloss' philosophy either. Voltaire was not writing this story for the sole purpose of entertainment. It is obvious that Voltaire was also trying to make readers reflect on their own beliefs so that they might see their hypocrisy.
"All is well in the world" could have referred to the mindset of the people living sheltered from the real world, such as the clergy and higher class. As the story continues, Candide finds out that all is not well in the world. The first event that Candide encountered should have been proof enough that all was not well in the world. Voltaire uses an Ironic approach when talking about the war.
When Candide had been wondering the streets after getting kicked out of the Baron's castle, two men came up to him and asked him if he was five feet tall, when he answered "yes, gentlemen, that is my height", civilly they invited him to dinner. They said, "men were meant to help each other." Candide was then trained in the Bulgarian army and forced to train to fight the Ab arians in war. Candide's belief in Pangloss' Philosophy was tested for the first time. How can all be well when so much killing is going on around him? Candide was confused on why he couldn't just walk away from the training camps, since he believed that "to use his legs as he pleased was a privilege of the human species as well as of animals." Eventually, many months later, Candide escapes and makes his way to Holland. An Anabaptist named Jacques offers Candide his help.
The next day he runs into a beggar who turns out to be Pangloss. Candide asks Pangloss about the whereabouts of his Cunegonde, to which he responds that she is dead. "Cunegonde dead! Ah! Best of worlds, where are you?" was Candide's response. This is the first time that Candide questions Pangloss' philosophy. The doctor explains that he has contracted a disease from Paquette which traces back one of the companions of Christopher Columbus that was with him when he went to the new world. Even when in obvious misery and near death, Pangloss defends his philosophy saying that it was all for the best, because if Columbus had not gone to the new world, they wouldn't be able to enjoy the treat that is chocolate and cochineal.
Jacques helps Pangloss get cured and hires him as a bookkeeper. The three of the men sail to Lisbon and while on the trip, a storm strikes the ship. Jacques falls overboard and as Candide was about to throw himself after him, Pangloss "proved to him that the Lisbon roads had been expressly created for the Anabaptist to be drowned in them" (17). After setting foot in Lisbon, they experience an earthquake. Thirty thousand inhabitants of every age and both sexes were crushed under the ruins. Pangloss explains that, since Lima had an earthquake the previous year, Lisbon's earthquake was caused by an underground train of sulphur running from Lima to Lisbon because, "similar causes produce similar effects." Pangloss and Candide were arrested by inquisitionist's who decided to sacrifice them to prevent future disasters.
Pangloss is hanged and Candide was saved by and old woman. Candide questions once again Pangloss' philosophy by saying, "If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others? Let it pass that I was flogged, for I was flogged by the Bulgarians, but, O my dear Pangloss! The greatest of philosophers! Must I see you hanged without knowing why?" The old woman takes Candide to Cunegonde, who escaped getting killed by the Bulgarians. Candide again regains some optimism but soon finds that Cunegonde is Don Issachar's woman and he shares her with the Grand Inquisitor. He ends up killing both men when Don Issachar comes home and finds Candide in the house and then has to kill the Grand Inquisitor because he comes in later that night catching Candide in the act. Candide, the old woman, and Cunegonde flee to Buenos Aires where Governor Don Fernando falls in love with Cunegonde and takes her as his own. The old woman warns Candide that an officer from Spain was coming to arrest the murderer of the Grand Inquisitor.
Candide and his valet, Cacambo flee to Paraguay where they accidentally meet up with Cunegonde's brother who is now a Jesuit colonel. When Candide tells him that he intends to marry Cunegonde, the colonel gets furious, they get into a fight and Candide stabs him, forcing him to flee once again. When they are captured by the Oreillons, they are taken for Jesuits and were about to be cooked and eaten if it Cacambo had not convinced them that Candide was not a Jesuit by telling them that he had just killed the Colonel. They were released when the Oreillons confirmed what Cacambo had mentioned.
Here Voltaire implies that by having killed someone, Candide was spared his life, how can killing somebody be for the best? They decide to take a canoe down the river where they end up in Eldorado, the "perfect" city. It's mud and rocks are gold, they have so many jewels and gold that it is of little value to its citizens. Eldorado has no jails, war, or starvation, quite opposite from the world Candide left behind. "This is very different form Westphalia and the castle of His Lordship the Baron; if our friend Pangloss had seen Eldorado, he would not have said that the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh was the best of all that exists on earth; certainly, a man should travel" (68). Even thought they meet the governor and they are treated kindly, Candide soon gets tired of having no conflicts and decides to go search for Cunegonde once again. "If we remain here, we shall be like anyone else, but if we return to our own world with only twenty sheep laden with pebbles, we shall be richer than all the kings put together" (70).
Candide and Cacambo traveled back to Buenos Aires to buy Cunegonde's freedom from the governor and on the way they lost all but two of the sheep that were carrying the jewels. In Surinam they met a Negro that had only one leg and no right hand. When Candide asked him what had happened to him he said that he had got his hand cut off in a mill and his owner cut off his foot when he tried to run away. Candide, after hearing the slaves story, finally rejects Pangloss' optimistic philosophy that all is well in the world. "Oh Pangloss!" Cried Candide.
"This is an abomination you had not guessed; this is too much, in the end I shall have to renounce optimism." Candide sent Cacambo to buy Cunegonde's freedom from the governor and he would meet with them in Europe. Candide gets his sheep stolen by a Dutch captain. With a couple of diamonds he had left, he buys a passage and hires a scholar named Martin to travel with him. Martin is pessimist; he continuously tries to prove to Candide the world is full of evil. Candide tries to argue that there must be some good in the world. Candide is, in some ways, still being optimistic.
While on the trip, they encounter two ships engaged in battle. One of the ships happens to belong to the captain that stole Candide's sheep and upon realizing this Candide says, "You see that crime is sometimes punished; this scoundrel of a Dutch captain has met the fate he deserved." To which Martin replies " yes, but was it necessary that the other passengers on his ship should perish too? God punished the thief, and the devil drowned the others." Even though Martin disproves that the captain's bad fortune was a good thing, Candide maintains optimism. He remains optimistic that he might find his Cunegonde. "Since I have found you (speaking of the sheep that was stolen from him) I may very likely find Cunegonde" (81). After landing in Europe, Candide and Martin run into Paquette, who tells them her story. After hearing her complain of her miserable life, Candide still wants to believe that there's some good in the world.
Martin argues that he will never find anybody that is happy in the world. Candide and Martin run into Cacambo at an Inn. Cacambo informs Candide that Cunegonde is in Constantinople and that he had been robbed of the jewels he had given him. Cacambo also tells them what happened to Cunegonde since they last saw each other.
He informed Candide that after he had bought back Cunegonde, they were robbed and sold into slavery, that Cunegonde was now a slave to a family in turkey, and had grown ugly. Cacambo arranges transportation on his master's ship for Candide and Martin. After getting to Bosporus Strait, Candide buys Cacambo's freedom. He then hires a galley to take them to Turkey where Cunegonde was now a slave. On the galley Candide finds that both Pangloss and Cunegonde's brother are still alive and immediately buys their freedom. This must have given Candide his optimism back, since all happened for the best and having Pangloss and the Colonel in front of him was enough proof.
Pangloss and the Colonel tell Candide their tales. After hearing Pangloss's tory Candide asks him, "Well, my dear Pangloss, when you were hanged, dissected, stunned with blows and made to row in the galleys, did you always think that everything was for the best in this world?" to which Pangloss answered, "I am still of my first opinion, for after all I am a philosopher; and it would be unbecoming for me to recant since leibnitz could not be in the wrong and pre-established harmony is the finest thing imaginable, like the plenum and subtle matter." Pangloss won't admit that he was wrong because to go against what he believed would make him a hypocrite. After finally finding Cunegonde, Candide is shocked at the look of his lady. She had grown ugly.
She kept reminding him of his promise to marry her, "She reminded Candide of his promises in so peremptory a tone that Candide dared not refuse her." Just like Pangloss, Candide refused to go back on something he had believed in at one point and went ahead with the wedding even though he had not the least with to marry Cunegonde. Candide must have realized at this point that not all works for the best in this world. After leaving Eldorado, Candide thought that finding Cunegonde would make him happy. He now finds that nothing worked out how he expected. Pangloss said to Candide: "All events are linked up in this best of all possible worlds; for, if you had not been expelled from the noble castle, by hard kicks in your backside for love of Miss Cunegonde, if you had not been clapped into the Inquisition, if you had not wandered about America on foot, if you had not stuck your sword in the Baron, if you had not lost all your sheep from the land of Eldorado, you would not be eating candied citrons and pistachios here." To which he replies, "'tis well said, but we must cultivate our gardens." Candide realized that even though things work out in the end, it's not always for the best; there must still be some hardship along the way.