Candide Plot Summary
Candide is expelled from the Baron's castle for kissing Cunégonde. After forced enlistment in the Bulgarian army, he witnesses the atrocities of war. Candide flees to Holland, meets Jacques the Anabaptist, and finds the philosopher, Dr. Pangloss, now a beggar ravaged by a venereal disease. Pangloss reports that the Bulgarians raped and disemboweled Cunégonde.
Candide, Jacques, and Pangloss sail to Lisbon. A storm destroys the ship, Jacques drowns, and Candide and Pangloss survive only to watch as an earthquake and tidal wave level Lisbon. Pangloss insists that despite the total ruin of Lisbon, the world is still the best of all possible worlds (optimism). For making such a heretical statement, Pangloss is hung while Candide is beaten during a ceremony of the Spanish Inquisition.
An old woman reunites Candide with Cunégonde, who survived the Bulgarian invasion, surviving a rape and partial disembowelment. Cunégonde is now the mistress of both Don Issachar and the Grand Inquisitor of Lisbon. Candide kills them both.
Candide, Cunégonde, and the old woman flee to Cadiz. There he volunteers to fight against the Jesuits in Paraguay. They sail to Buenos Aires. When they arrive, Candide flees when the old woman spots a ship from Spain in hot pursuit.
Candide and his valet Cacambo join the Jesuits instead. The Commandant of the Jesuits is actually Cunégonde's brother, the Baron's son. The reunion turns sour when the Baron's son forbids Candide to marry Cunégonde. Candide stabs him. Candide and Cacambo escape only to be captured by the Oreillons, a tribe of natives, but the diplomatic Cacambo convinces the natives to release them.
Candide and Cacambo happen upon the utopian kingdom of Eldorado. Candide and Cacambo then leave (with 102 red sheep covered in jewels) to find Cunégonde. They arrive in Surinam where Candide is swindled by a Dutch sailor and a judge. Candide sends Cacambo to fetch Cunégonde in Buenos Aires and to meet him in Venice. Candide befriends Martin the pessimist.
Candide and Martin sail to Bordeaux. In Paris, Candide falls ill and loses money to various con artists. Candide and Martin sail to England where they watch the public execution of an English admiral who did not kill enough people.
In Venice, Candide and Martin meet Cacambo. They sail to Constantinople. En route, Candide, Martin and Cacambo find Dr. Pangloss, who survived the hanging, and Cunégonde's brother, the Baron's son. The group then rejoins Cunégonde and the old woman. The Baron's son forbids Candide to marry his sister again. Candide sends him back to the galley ship.
Candide settles down on a farm. Cunégonde, the old woman, Martin, Cacambo, and Pangloss join him. After much philosophical debating between Candide, Martin and Pangloss, Candide declares that one must stop philosophizing and cultivate one's garden as the only defense against boredom and dissatisfaction.