Candide: Novel Summary: Chapters 15-16

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Chapter 15

The commander, Cunégonde's brother, also referred to by Voltaire as the baron, explains to Candide the events following the Bulgar invasion.  Though his parents were killed and his sister raped, he was befriended by a Jesuit priest, who sent him to Rome, and eventually to Paraguay, letting him serve both the church and the state as a colonel and priest.

Candide and the baron seem to be getting along fine until Candide mentions his desire to marry Cunégonde.  Hearing this, the commander immediately scoffs and even threatens the young philosopher, and a sword fight quickly ensues.  Candide kills his future brother-in-law, and Cacambo, waiting nearby, organizes a fast escape for himself and his master.
 

Chapter 16

Volaire's 16th chapter is definitely one of his most interesting.  Now in the wilderness of South America, Candide and Cacambo hear the screams of two young women nearby.  Investigating further, they realize that two monkeys are chasing the girls, who run naked.  Lifting his rifle, Candide kills both animals, believing that he has saved the two young girls.  Shocked, he sees the girls turn around, coming back to embrace the monkeys with whom they had frolicked.  Cacambo tries to explain all of this to his master, saying that these women are ignorant of the reason of Europe, and thus engage in the irrational, carnal pleasures of life. 
Waking up from their sleep a few hours later, Candide and his valet find themselves tied with vines and surrounded by forest natives called Biglugs (Orejones in Spanish).  Apparently the two girls had told their people about the shooting of their lovers, and these Indians found the culprits as they slept. 
Luckily, the shrewd Cacambo, who even knows some of the local language, speaks to the captors brilliantly about how he and his master are not their Jesuit enemies, but indeed friends.  Hearing this, the natives release their two prisoners, wishing them well.  Candide is elated that his life is spared, even asserting that these people, uncorrupted by civilization, are the best people in the world.  This theory that nature is utopian was taught to him earlier by Pangloss.

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