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Candide | Study Guide


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Chapter 9

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 9 of Voltaire's novella Candide.

Candide | Chapter 9 | Summary



Don Issacar draws his dagger on Candide, who in turn runs his sword through his opponent. The Grand Inquisitor walks in, and Candide decides he has no choice but to kill him, too. The old woman has Cunégonde gather her money and jewelry while Candide saddles horses for their escape. They're 30 miles away by the time the Holy Brotherhood of the Inquisition shows up at the house. The Grand Inquisitor "is buried in a beautiful church" while Don Issacar is "thrown on to the town refuse heap."


Philosophical optimism and morally correct behavior don't always go hand in hand. Candide kills Don Issacar in self-defense but kills the Grand Inquisitor to keep himself and Cunégonde from being burned at the stake. He figures that he's already killed one person, so another dead body won't make much of a difference. He feels no guilt about these murders thanks to his belief that everything happens for the best.

The end of the chapter illustrates the disgust Voltaire feels about the religious intolerance pervading Europe in the 18th century. Both of Candide's victims have identities tied directly to their religion: the Grand Inquisitor is Christian, and Don Issacar is Jewish. Their burials show their respective values in Western European society. The Grand Inquisitor is given a proper burial in a beautiful church, while Don Issacar is literally thrown into the trash.

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