Notes on Candide Themes

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Candide Topic Tracking: Hypocrisy

Chapter 3

Hypocrisy 1: The orator tells Candide he deserves to starve because Candide does not know whether the Pope is the Antichrist. Just before, the orator had been addressing a crowd about the virtues of charity.

Chapter 5

Hypocrisy 2: Jacques the Anabaptist is kind enough to rescue the drowning sailor even though the sailor hit Jacques. When Jacques gets pulled into the water from the effort of rescuing the sailor, the sailor leaves him to drown.

Jacques saved Pangloss's life when he paid for Pangloss's cure. When Candide has an opportunity to help Jacques and save him from drowning, he reasons that Jacques was meant to drown.

Chapter 6

Hypocrisy 3: The Spanish Inquisition was Spain's political tool to rout out heretics and usurpers. Officially sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church, the Inquisition relied on practices such as torture and confiscation of property to terrorize its victims and get false confessions. Christianity advocates the virtues of charity, forgiveness and love. Official policies and practices of the Inquisition were anything but charitable or loving.

Chapter 9

Hypocrisy 4: Don Issachar was a court banker and influential merchant. Nevertheless, because he was Jewish, his body is thrown in the sewer. The grand Inquisitor, who burned people at the stake, was given all the respect of a proper burial.

Chapter 10

Hypocrisy 5: A reverend Franciscan father steals money from Cunégonde, while a Benedictine friar swindles the threesome out of a good horse. These churchmen have little integrity.

Chapter 11

Hypocrisy 6: While participating in the carnage of war, not one Moroccan neglects to perform his five daily prayers, which are spaced throughout the day. The coupling of Christian prayer with war is ironic, and reminiscent of the Bulgarians' and the Abares' praise of god for their battles.

Chapter 12

Hypocrisy 7: One Christian country employs the King of Morocco to destroy the merchant ships of another Christian country, a gesture that seems contrary to Christian principles.

Chapter 14

Hypocrisy 8: Cacambo praises the government of Los Padres, which he aptly calls a "kingdom". But read between the lines and notice how Cacambo, as well as the narrator, inadvertently point out the inconsistencies in Jesuit practices. In South America, the Jesuits rebel against their European monarchies; in Europe the Jesuits act as their agents.

Ironically, the Jesuits have established their own microcosmic monarchy in Paraguay. The natives "have nothing", and are forced to eat their gruel outside in the heat of the sun while high-ranking officers like the commandant enjoy the shade of beautiful arbors.

Also noteworthy is the fact that the Jesuit fathers hold both religious and military titles, "the reverend father Commandant" for instance. Acting as militants, the Jesuits have tainted their roles as churchmen. The narrator underscores this with a mocking description of the Commandant, who wears a sword and a three-cornered hat, and his gown tucked up around him for more freedom of movement.

Chapter 15

Hypocrisy 9: The Baron's son alludes to a homosexual relationship he had with Reverend Father Croust, the Jesuit superior. This is a comical jab at the inconsistencies between church doctrine and human action; homosexuality was at the time a sexual practice absolutely forbidden by the Church.

The Baron's son predicts that the Spanish soldiers will be beaten and excommunicated from the church when the Jesuits triumph. In Europe, these Spanish soldiers would be praised, not excommunicated.

Chapter 18

Hypocrisy 10: The wise man of Eldorado tells Candide they have just one god. Instead of asking god for things through prayer, the people of Eldorado continuously offer their thanks to god. Everyone is a priest. Contrast this with the factious religious battles waged in Europe. Monks and priests are always at odds, and the Church meddles in political affairs.

Cacambo expects he will have to perform a ridiculous ritual in order to show deference to the King. A simple hug and a kiss are all that is required; for meeting with a king this is a refreshingly simple ceremony.

Chapter 19

Hypocrisy 11: The slave points out how horribly the "descendants of Adam" treat each other, making the disparity between reality and theological or metaphysical doctrines painfully obvious.

Chapter 22

Hypocrisy 12: After accepting Candide's bribe, the policeman says that if Candide was the worst of criminals, the policeman would think of Candide as the most honest of men.

Chapter 24

Hypocrisy 13: Friar Giroflée's account of his miserable monastic life casts doubt on the integrity of religious institutions.

Chapter 27

Hypocrisy 14: Like all of the opportunistic con men who descend on Candide in Paris, the Levantine captain seizes the chance to line his own pockets. He inflates the price of his galley slaves' freedom (though they were poor rowers). Candide encounters very few people who have any moral integrity.

Chapter 28

Hypocrisy 15: The Baron's son confesses he was ignorant of the rules barring Christians from bathing naked with Muslims. But his real transgression was his unspoken homosexual act. In the broader context of Candide, this episode illustrates again the mismatch between human behavior and the edicts of the church. In fact, many of the convicts on the galley ship are churchmen who were punished for similar offenses.

Chapter 30

Hypocrisy 16: Pangloss, Candide and Martin are inspired to argue about metaphysics and evil when they watch the parade of exiled religious and political figures. Then they learn that some Turkish officials were strangled and impaled. They wonder how religious and political institutions, which are built on particular moral codes, can create so much tyranny and violence.

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