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Candide | Study Guide


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Chapter 15

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 15 of Voltaire's novella Candide.

Candide | Chapter 15 | Summary



Mistaken for dead after the attack on Thunder-ten-tronckh, the Young Baron is loaded onto a cart to be buried at a Jesuit chapel. A priest discovers the Young Baron is still alive and nurses him back to health. The head of the Jesuit university takes a liking to the Young Baron and initiates him into the community. He is eventually sent to Paraguay, where he now serves as a colonel and priest.

The Young Baron asks about his sister, and Candide assures him that she is in Buenos Aires, waiting to marry him. This appalls the Young Baron, who thinks Candide isn't nearly good enough for his noble sibling. He smacks Candide across the face with his sword; Candide stabs the Young Baron in the stomach with his own weapon. Cacambo and Candide flee.


The Young Baron isn't telling the entire truth about what happened to him. According to Pangloss (Chapter 4) both of Candide's cousins, not just Cunégonde, were raped by Bulgar soldiers at Thunder-ten-tronckh. The Young Baron's omission is purposeful: he doesn't want to appear weak in front of his cousin of inferior birth. He also glosses over his relationship with Reverend Father Croust, who had "the most tender affection" for the "pretty" Young Baron. (Reverend Father Croust was a real person, and he wasn't a fan of Enlightenment philosophers. Because Voltaire hates him, he tries to malign Croust by suggesting he is gay.)

The Young Baron is unwilling to admit that he has fallen so far in life. True he's a Jesuit priest, but he's a Jesuit priest living halfway around the world with indigenous people who don't speak his language. He inherits nothing after his father's death, and his sister's reputation is ruined. Yet he insists that he and Cunégonde are still better than Candide. The attitude of the Young Baron reflects the sense of entitlement felt by the upper classes even after they have fallen from grace.

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