Traveling to Lisbon on a business trip, Jacques brings along his two philosopher friends, Candide and Pangloss. A terrifying storm ravishes the sea during the boat trip, destroying the vessel and killing all but three of those on board-Candide, Pangloss, and a "brutal sailor" who survives at the expense of the kind Christian, Jacques.
Once ashore, Candide and his mentor see the awful effects of the Lisbon earthquake, a historical natural disaster which killed over 30,000. With Candide helping many of the surviving victims of the earthquake, Pangloss "consoles" the people with his doctrine of universal reason. When an Inquisition agent asks the wise philosopher if he believes in original sin or free will, Pangloss asserts that both agree with his theory.
In this chapter, Candide and Pangloss experience the auto-da-fé, a public ceremony intended to avert future disasters through a demonstration of contrition and self-degradation. This event, like the earthquake which preceded it, actually occurred in Lisbon during the summer of 1756.
Also connected with Candide's auto-da-fé is the Inquisition, replete with human sacrifices. Soon Candide and Pangloss find themselves under the category of human sacrifices, having been arrested for the comical charge that one was talking and the other "listening with an air of approval." Though Pangloss is hanged (against auto-da-fé custom), Candide, luckily, is only flogged "in cadence to the music." This savage pageantry (of Candide being whipped to the beat of a beautiful song) is used by Voltaire to underscore the intolerance and injustice of the Church through its brutal treatment of innocent victims, like Candide, though it maintains the false exquisiteness of tradition. It's interesting to note that a second earthquake struck the city only a few hours later (Obviously the auto-da-fé was not successful.).
All this causes Candide to seriously question the optimistic way of thinking, as he seems to be approaching death before an old woman mysteriously appears to aid him.