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Candide | Chapter 5 | Summary

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Summary

As the storm rages, the Anabaptist saves the life of a crazed sailor and ends up going overboard. Pangloss prevents Candide from saving him by explaining "Lisbon harbor was built expressly so that this Anabaptist should one day drown in it." The ship sinks and only Candide, Pangloss, and the crazed sailor survive.

The three men arrive in Lisbon at the exact same time as an earthquake. Even Pangloss questions divine reason as the city crumbles. An injured Candide begs Pangloss for help, but Pangloss is more interested in talking about the connection between this and other earthquakes.

At dinner with other survivors the next night, Pangloss says the earthquake is for the best, because "if there is a volcano beneath Lisbon, then it cannot be anywhere else." His reasoning is questioned by an agent of the Inquisition, and they debate the coexistence of free will and absolute necessity. The Grand Inquisitor calls for his guards.

Analysis

Pangloss's assertion that "there has been neither Fall nor punishment" is a red flag for the Grand Inquisitor. If humans haven't fallen, or committed the Original Sin of disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden, they don't need someone to redeem them. Pangloss is essentially saying there's no place for God. That statement makes him a heretic.

Voltaire's personal beliefs align more closely with those of Jacques the Anabaptist than with Pangloss, yet Jacques is the character killed during the storm. Naturally altruistic, Jacques saves Candide and Pangloss from life on the streets and even saves the life of a man who tries to kill him. His "reward" for his troubles is his own death, which seems to contradict Pangloss's theories about a benevolent God. One would be hard-pressed to find the "greater good" that comes from Jacques's death.

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