Candide: Novel Summary: Chapters 21-22

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Chapter 21

 Finally, Candide and Martin reach France.  It soon becomes obvious to the reader that Martin has a very little regard for Paris social society, as he describes its inhabitants as a mob, always seeking pleasure but never finding it. 

Candide, sensing Martin's distaste for the country, explains that he doesn't want to stay long himself, but simply plans to use France as a way to get to Venice, where he will wait for his beloved Cunégonde. 

Martin seems to be very disillusioned with life, saying that he's seen it all.  When Candide asks him if he believes men have always been evil, Martin responds in the affirmative, comparing humans to hawks-species which live by instinct.  Candide tries to refute his argument, however, asserting that man has free will.

Chapter 22

 Candide decides to visit Paris while he and Martin pass through France.  While staying in a hotel, all of those around Candide try to take advantage of him, hoping to siphon off some of his wealth.  They cheat him at cards, seduce him, and even pretend to be Cunégonde herself (of course a very sick, mute Cunégonde who cannot be exposed to light), in order to exhort his money-and each scheme is very successful.  Later, they see a play at the theater and one of the actresses in the production reminds Candide of Cunégonde.  Next, being entertained at a home where he meets a wise man, Candide immediately asks him if he subscribes to Pangloss' philosophy of optimism.  The man says he doesn't, maintaining that "everything goes wrong in our world.." Candide responds by repeating Pangloss' teaching that "troubles are just the shadows in a beautiful picture." At this point, however, Martin asserts that "the shadows are horrible ugly blots."

Later, though he feels guilty about it afterwards, Candide is unfaithful to Cunégonde with the "lady" of the household, who simply wanted (and received) his diamonds.  Eventually, Candide grows fed up with the scheming which surrounds him, so he tells Martin that they must escape from this "hell." Though not yet going towards Venice, Candide is happy enough just to get to England.

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