Chapter 4 Notes from Candide

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Candide Chapter 4

"How Candide Met His Old Master in Philosophy, Doctor Pangloss, and What Happened"

The beggar is Pangloss. Candide is incredulous. He doesn't understand how Pangloss could be reduced to this miserable condition. Candide's interest in Pangloss moves quickly to concern for Cunégonde. He thinks something terrible might have happened to Cunégonde as well. But Pangloss is tired and wants to rest and eat before he tells Candide what happened.

Candide takes him to the stable of Jacques the Anabaptist and gives him food. Pangloss reports that Cunégonde is dead. Candide faints, recovers, and asks what happened to the best of all possible worlds. Candide naively wonders if Cunégonde died from the trauma of losing him when he was expelled from the Baron's castle. Actually, Pangloss explains, the Bulgarians disemboweled her. But first they smashed her father's head, sliced up her mother, and raped Cunégonde. Her brother was raped and disemboweled as well. The castle was left in pieces. At least, Pangloss states, the Abares gave a Bulgarian barony the same treatment.

Candide faints again. He recovers. He is curious now about what happened to Pangloss. Candide demands to know the sufficient reasons, the causes and effects, for Pangloss's pitiful condition. Pangloss tells Candide that love is the sufficient reason. Pangloss waxes poetic describing the joys of love. Candide interjects that love is grand but the only thing love gave him was a kiss and twenty kicks in the back side. Pangloss expresses no bitterness when he tells Candide that love, in the form of Paquette, the Baroness's waiting-maid, gave him a venereal disease. Candide is skeptical: how could a great thing like love produce such horrible results?

Pangloss explains that Paquette received the disease from a monk, who received it from a countess, and so on down the line, concluding with a companion of Christopher Columbus, who brought the disease back to Europe. Pangloss seems almost disappointed that he can't participate in this chain of giving because he will die soon. Candide says the devil is to blame for the disease. According to Pangloss, the disease was a necessary component of this best of all possible worlds, otherwise Europe would not have chocolate or cochineal (a red dye):

"...if Columbus in an island of America had not caught the disease, which poisons the source of generation, and often indeed prevents generation, we should not have chocolate and cochineal" Chapter 4, pg. 17

Candide insists that Pangloss be cured. But Pangloss says this will only happen if he has money because being bled and having an enema require payment. Candide takes Pangloss to Jacques the Anabaptist who pays for Pangloss's treatment. Though he loses an eye and an ear, Pangloss is cured.

Jacques the Anabaptist hires Pangloss as his bookkeeper. One day Jacques takes Pangloss and Candide-the narrator ironically calls them Jacques's philosophers-to Lisbon for a business trip. On the way, Jacques explains that he does not agree that this is the best of all possible worlds. He compares men and their warlike natures to wolves.

Topic Tracking: War 3

"'Men,' said he, 'must have corrupted nature a little, for they were not born wolves, and they have become wolves. God did not give them twenty-four-pounder cannons or bayonets, and they have made bayonets and cannons to destroy each other." Chapter 4, pg. 18

Pangloss, a true optimist, sees the glass as half full. He explains that things are better when people suffer more.

"...and private misfortunes make the public good, so that the more private misfortunes there are, the more everything is well." Chapter 4, pg. 19

Just outside of Lisbon, a terrible storm descends upon the ship.

Topic Tracking: Flawed Logic 4
Topic Tracking: Optimism 3

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