Chapter 6 Notes from Candide

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Candide Chapter 6

"How a Splendid Auto-da-Fé Was Held to Prevent Earthquakes, and How Candide Was Flogged"

The leaders of Lisbon, whom the narrator ironically calls "wise", decide that the best way to prevent another earthquake is to hold an auto-da-fé to punish a small group of heretics they managed to round up.

"It was decided by the university of Coimbre that the sight of several persons being slowly burned in great ceremony is an infallible secret for preventing earthquakes." Chapter 6, pg. 24

The chosen victims of this "splendid" ceremony were a Biscayan who allegedly married his godmother, two Jews who gave themselves away when they refused to eat pork, Pangloss, and Candide. Candide's only crime was that of listening to Pangloss when Pangloss was philosophizing.

For a week, Pangloss and Candide are held in separate prison cells, which the narrator calls "extremely cool apartments". They are then dressed in the traditional garb for heretics punished in an auto-da-fé, san benitos, and paper miters. Candide's san benitos has upside down flames and devils missing claws and tails, while Pangloss's has flames rightside up and devils with claws and tails. This seems to have symbolic reference to the severity of punishment, for Candide is only to be severely beaten, while Pangloss is hanged. The group of heretics is marched through the ceremony during a "pathetic" sermon. The narrator notes the "lovely" music that accompanies the flogging Candide receives. With the exception of Pangloss, the three other heretics are burned at the stake. Candide watches while Pangloss is hanged. Another earthquake strikes Lisbon on the same day.

Completely dejected and covered with blood, but absolved of his crimes by the Inquisition, Candide thinks how horrible this best of all possible worlds really is. But, instead of bemoaning the actual loss of Pangloss, Jacques and Cunégonde, Candide mulls over specific details of the misfortunes that meet his friends: why was Pangloss hung, why did Jacques have to drown just before reaching Lisbon and why did Cunégonde need to be disemboweled?

"If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others?" Chapter 6, pg. 25

As Candide is fretting, an old woman tells him to have courage and asks him to follow her.

Topic Tracking: Flawed Logic 6
Topic Tracking: Optimism 5
Topic Tracking: Hypocrisy 3

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