Chapter 20 Notes from Candide

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Candide Chapter 20

"What Happened to Candide and Martin at Sea"

Candide and Martin talk about the nature of evil during the voyage. They have much to say. Martin is very pessimistic, while Candide is still bolstered by the prospect of seeing Cunégonde again. He feels particularly optimistic when his belly is full. Martin declares that he is a Manichaean, someone who believes that the material world is fundamentally evil.

"'I confess that when I consider this globe, or rather this globule, I think that God has abandoned it to some evil creature[.]'" Chapter 20, pg. 90

Martin gives quite a number of examples, which seem to thoroughly support this view. Candide objects, saying that there is some good in the world. But Martin says that he has never seen it.

Their ship happens upon two other ships at battle with each other. Candide's ship gets close so that every passenger can enjoy watching the killing. One ship sinks, many sailors die, and Martin points out to Candide that the gruesome affair further proves his point. Candide confesses he is right.

Candide spies one of his red sheep floating in the water, which he retrieves. The sinking ship was that of Monsieur Vanderdendur. Candide maintains there is justice in the world after all. Martin disagrees because so many innocent sailors died as well. Candide thinks that his recovery of one sheep is a sign that he will see Cunégonde again.

Topic Tracking: Optimism 11

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