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Candide | Study Guide


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Chapter 14

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 14 of Voltaire's novella Candide.

Candide | Chapter 14 | Summary



Candide's valet, Cacambo, urges his master to switch sides and fight for the Jesuits instead of against them. The guards at the first border crossing are suspicious, however, and Candide and Cacambo are detained until the guards realize Candide is German, not Spanish. They bring him to their commanding officer, who is also German.

Before they can say five words to each other, Candide realizes the commanding officer is none other than the Young Baron, Cunégonde's brother, who is believed dead after the Bulgar attack on Thunder-ten-tronckh. The two men weep "rivers of tears" in amazement at their good fortune, and Candide tells the Young Baron that Cunégonde has also survived. As they wait for the chief Jesuit, the Young Baron tells his story.


Starting in the early 1600s, the Jesuits, a Roman Catholic order restricted to males, brought religious colonization to South America. Working with indigenous groups, they built societies reminiscent of early Christianity, complete with schools, hospitals, and churches. Because they governed themselves independently, they did not consider themselves subject to any European power. This caused issues for European countries that wanted to expand into South America.

Candide originally goes to South America to fight against the Jesuits and natives resisting takeover attempts by Spain and Portugal. Cacambo points out the absurdity of the fraught relationship between the Jesuits and their mother countries, saying, "nothing could be more god-like than Los Padres, who make war in this part of the world against the kings of Spain and Portugal, while being confessors to those same kings back in Europe." Voltaire didn't necessarily approve of the type of society the Jesuits championed, but he also didn't like the destruction wrought by Spain when it conquered the Aztec and Inca Empires in Mexico and Peru. Candide's decision to help the Jesuits suggests that Spain should focus on the territories it already has instead of trying to expand.

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