Chapter 16 Notes from Candide

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Candide Chapter 16

"What Happened to the Two Travelers with Two Girls, Two Monkeys, and the Savages Called Oreillons"

Candide and Cacambo come to a meadow. The old woman's philosophy seemed to have made an impression on Candide for he tells Cacambo that he fails to see the reason for living anymore because he will never see Cunégonde again. He also wonders what the Journal de Trevoux will say, a trifling worry considering he might never see his true love again. (The Journal de Trevoux was a Jesuit journal which expressed viewpoints to which Voltaire was opposed.)

Candide and Cacambo see two naked girls chased by two monkeys who bite the girls' buttocks. Candide, feeling chivalrous, shoots and kills the two monkeys. Candide thinks that killing the monkeys will make up for the three previous murders he committed. He notes that the girls might be of use to them in this unknown territory.

When the girls weep and hold the dead monkeys to their breasts, Candide is baffled. Cacambo tells Candide that there is nothing unusual about taking a monkey as one's


"'[Y]ou are surprised by everything; why should you think it so strange that in some countries there should be monkeys who obtain ladies' favours? They are quarter men, as I am a quarter Spaniard.'" Chapter 16, pg. 64

Candide thinks this is the kind of coupling which results in the fauns and satyrs of ancient times. Cacambo astutely notes that Candide now knows they are true instead of fables.

Candide and Cacambo are taken hostage by the Oreillons, the natives of the country. The Oreillons celebrate because they are about eat a Jesuit. Though Candide feels utterly dejected, he concedes that all is still well in the world; he remarks, nonetheless, how unfortunate it is that he has to lose Cunégonde and be eaten by cannibals. Candide would like the Oreillons to know how unchristian cannibalism is, though the Oreillons are not likely Christians. By this point, Candide might remind himself how unchristian true Christians have hitherto behaved.

Cacambo speaks the Oreillons's language. He convinces them that Candide just killed a Jesuit, and therefore they should set him free. In his comically absurd speech Cacambo, admits that it is right to want to kill one's neighbor, but not one's friends.

"'If we do not exert the right of eating our neighbor, it is because we have other means of making good cheer[.]'" Chapter 16, pg. 65

Cacambo suggests to the Oreillons that because Candide just murdered a Jesuit, he is their friend. Cacambo flatters the Oreillons, saying they are much too reasonable and morally upright to kill an enemy of the Jesuits.

The Oreillons confirm Cacambo's story. They release Candide and Cacambo. Candide decides now that the Oreillons are really upright citizens, and that the state of nature is actually quite nice. He feels lucky.

Topic Tracking: Flawed Logic 9
Topic Tracking: Optimism 8

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