Literapedia Book Notes for

Candide, or Optimism by Voltaire


  • Candide (ch 1)— The supposed illegitimate son of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh's sister
  • Pangloss (ch 1)— Tutor to the Thunder-ten-tronckh household
  • Cunegonde (ch 1)— Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh's daughter
  • James the Anabaptist (ch 3)—A merchant who takes in Candide in Holland and restores Pangloss
  • The Old Woman (ch 6)—Princess of Palestrina that has come to be an old, ugly servant with only one buttock.
  • Cacambo (ch 14)—A part South American and part European footman that serves as Candide's servant.
  • The Brother of Cunegonde (ch 14)--Cunegonde's brother, son of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh
  • Martin (ch 19)--A scholar and honest man who becomes Candide's companion.
  • Paquette (ch 24)—Originally, the maid that gave Pangloss syphilis. Later, a prostitute.

Chapter Summaries

  1. How Candide was brought up in a magnificent castle; and how he was driven out of it) Candide is raised in the castle of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh in Westaphalia. He learns the doctrine of "everything is for the best" from the estate's tutor, Pangloss, but is thrown out when Cunegonde kisses him.
  2. What happened to Candide among the Bulgarians) Candide is enlisted in the Bulgarian military. He attempts to escape and is punished with 4,000 floggings. The King of the Bulgars hears that Candide is a metaphysician and pardons him. A surgeon repairs Candide.
  3. How Candide escaped from the Bulgarians, and what happened to him afterwards) Candide hides during the battle between the Bulgarians and the Abarians. He travels to the wrecked towns of both sides to find equivalent levels of destruction. Candide flees to Holland where James the Anabaptist takes him in.
  4. How Candide found his old Master Pangloss again, and what happened to them) Candide realizes that the scab-covered beggar he finds is his tutor, Pangloss, and convinces James the Anabaptist to finance Pangloss's treatment for syphilis. Candide learns that Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh's estate was sacked and that Cunegonde was raped and slain. Candide and Pangloss join James the Anabaptist on a voyage to Lisbon.
  5. A Tempest, a Shipwreck, an Earthquake, and what else happened to Dr. Pangloss, Candide, and James the Anabaptist) A storm sinks the ship and James the Anabaptist is drowned. A terrible earthquake causes great destruction in Lisbon. Candide is wounded by shrapnel from the quake. Candide is healed, the travelers finds food, and the Inquisition consults them.
  6. How the Portugese made a superb auto-da-fe to prevent any future Earthquakes, and how Candide was publicly whipped) Lisbon holds an auto-da-fe to purge evil and prevent further earthquakes. Pangloss is hanged, and Candide is whipped. An old woman rescues Candide.
  7. How the Old Woman took care of Candide, and how he found the Object of his Love) The Old Woman takes Candide to Cunegonde: both faint when they see each other. Cunegonde prepares to tell the story how she survived the battle.
  8. The History of Cunegonde) An officer killed Cunegonde's rapist and took care of her in return for he servitude and personal favors. She was sold to a rich Jew, Don Issachar. Don Issachar hid her away, but the Lord Inquisitor, wooed by Cunegonde's beauty, demanded that Don Issachar share Cunegonde with him.
  9. What happened to Cunegonde, Candide, the Grand Inquisitor, and the Jew) Candide kills Don Issachar and the Lord Inquisitor. Candide, Cunegonde, and the Old Woman flee to Cadiz.
  10. In what distress Candide, Cunegonde, and the Old Woman arrived at Cadiz; and of their Embarkation) Cunegonde discovers her jewels and coins were stolen when the party spent the night in Avecina. The party sells a horse for money, embarks from Avecina, and arrives at Cadiz. Candide comes into control of an infantry company to command, and the party sets sail to Paraguay to quell the Jesuit rebellion.
  11. The History of the Old Woman) On the voyage to Paraguay, the Old Woman tells here story. She is the daughter of Pope Urban X and the princess of Palestrina. A series of unfortunate events lead to her rape by pirates until their arrival at Morocco, where everyone is slain except the Old Woman. An Italian castrato finds her, cares for her, and curses his lack of testicles.
  12. The Adventures of the Old Woman (continued)) The Italian sells the Old Woman to the Dey of Algiers. The plague kills almost everyone, and a merchant acquires the Old Woman, and then she is sold to an aga of the janissaries. The janissaries are besieged by the Russians, and cut off the buttocks of the women to subsist, but are slain before they cook the meat. A Russian aristocrat takes the Old Woman, but she escapes when he is punished by Peter the Great.
  13. How Candide was obliged to leave the fair Cunegonde and the Old Woman) Don Fernando d'Ibaraa y Figuera y Mascarenes y Lampourdoes y Souza asks for Cunegonde's hand when they arrive in Argentina. A ship from Lisbon that has been sent to burn Candide for killing the Lord Inquisitor arrives in Buenos Aires. Candide flees to the Jesuits.
  14. How Candide and Cacambo were received by the Jesuits in Paraguay) Cacambo and Candide meet a commandant of the Jesuit rebellion that turns out to be Cunegonde's brother. He tells his story. The Brother of Cunegonde begins to tell his story.
  15. How Candide killed the Brother of his dear Cunegonde) A Jesuit burial party acquired Cunegonde's brother's body after the battle. When a Jesuit realized he was alive, the Jesuit restored Cunegonde's brother. Reverend father Croust took a great fondness for Cunegonde's brother, and later sent him to help the Jesuit rebellion in Paraguay. When Candide tells Cunegonde's brother about his intent to marry Cunegonde, a great calamity starts and Candide slays Cunegonde's brother. Cacambo and Candide flee.
  16. What happened to our two Travellers with two Girls, two Monkeys, and the savages called Oreillons) Candide shoots two monkeys that appear to be attacked two, naked girls. The monkeys, however, are the girls' lovers, and Cacambo and Candide are imprisoned by the Oreillons. Cacambo explains that Candide has killed the Jesuit commandant, and the Oreillons set them free because the Jesuits are their enemies.
  17. Candide and his Valet in the Contry of El Dorado. What they saw there) On their way to Cayenne, Candide and Cacambo row through a dark cave until they emerge in El Dorado. The travelers pick up the pebbles the children are playing with to find that they are gold and rubies. When Candide and Cacambo attempt to pay for dinner with the rubies, the landlord realizes they are strangers.
  18. What they saw in the Country of El Dorado) The landlord brings Cacambo and Candide to a retired main of the court. The old man presents the nature of El Dorado's utopia in response to Cacambo's questions. The old man permits the travelers to stay in El Dorado forever, but Candide wants to marry Cunegonde. Candide and Cacambo leave with 102 of the large, red sheep of El Dorado, packed with the gold and jewels of El Dorado that are not valuable there.
  19. What happened to them at Surinam, and how Candide got to know Martin) All of the sheep die except for four on the travelers way to Cunegonde. In Surinam, Candide sends Cacambo to rescue Cunegonde for him. Candide chooses a new servant, Martin, from the men of Surinam, and sets off to meet Cacambo and Cunegonde in Venice where they will be free from persecution.
  20. What happened to Candide and Martin at sea) On their way to Bordeaux, Martin explains that he is a Manishcaean philosopher and does not agree with Pangloss' optimism. A French ship destroys a Dutch ship, and Candide discovers that it is the Dutchman that robbed Candide and Cacambo of two sheep. Candide rescues one sheep and has renewed optimism.
  21. Candide and Martin draw near to the coast of France. They reason with each other) Candide and Martin dispute over the merits of Pangloss's "everything is for the best" philosophy.
  22. What happened to Candide and Martin in France) Candide gets sick, and then even more sick due to the purging and bleeding. Many persons in France befriend him due to his money. Candide is conned out of much of his money by the French and the Abbe that serves as Candide's informant. Candide and Martin continue on to Venice.
  23. Candide and Martin touch upon the English Coast; what they see there) An English admiral is being put to death for not killing enough Frenchmen when Candide and Martin land on the English coast. Candide refuses to set foot in Portsmouth and negotiates to take a Dutch ship to Venice.
  24. About Pacquette and Friar Giroflee) Candide searches unsuccessfully for Cacambo and Cunegonde. Martin and Candide debate happiness, and make a wager on a young friar and woman. At dinner with the young lovers, Candide finds that the woman is Pacquette, the servant of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh that gave syphilis to Pangloss. Pacquette admits that she is not happy, and Candide loses the bet. Candide gives Pacquette and Friar Giroflee money in hopes that they will be happy.
  25. Candide and Martin pay a visit to SIgnor Pococurante, a noble Venetian) Candide and Martin visit the most extraordinary Senator of Venice. Candide thinks that he is a magnificent man, but Martin shows that he is unhappy.
  26. Candide and Martin sup with six strangers) and who they were: Candide finds Cacambo, who tells him that Cunegonde is a slave in Constantinople. Candide and Martin eat with six strangers that turn out to be dethroned kings and royalty.
  27. Candide's Voyage to Constantinople) On the way to Constantinople, Cacambo explains that Cunegonde washes dishes for the family of an ancient sovereign and that she has grown very ugly. While discussing the unfortunate nature of his life, Candide names Pangloss and Cunegonde's brother. The slaves of the galley stop rowing, and Candide realizes that they are Pangloss and Cunegonde's brother. Candide buys their freedom.
  28. What happened to Candide, Cunegonde, Pangloss, Martin, etc.) Cunegonde's brother and Pangloss explain how they survived.
  29. In what manner Candide found Miss Cunegonde and the Old Woman again) Candide finds Cunegonde and the Old Woman and buys their freedom. Cunegonde's brother still opposes Candide and Cunegonde's marriage.
  30. Conclusion) Candide marries Cunegonde out of obligation over choice, and the party sends Cunegonde's brother to be a slave. Pacquette and Friar Giroflee join the party on a farm that Candide has purchased with the last of his wealth, and it is learned that they squandered Candide's donation and are unhappy again. The party makes a self-sufficient farm and become skilled in their jobs. Candide comes to ignore Pangloss's teachings.

Book Note Creator

Ben Han, student