Study Guide

Candide Chapter 16

By Voltaire

Chapter 16

  • Candide and Cacambo stop for a meal. While they eat, Candide despairs about Cunégonde.
  • They stop to rest by a meadow and observe the lovely scenic and tranquil environment: birds chirping, water gurgling, naked women running around with monkeys trying to bite their buttocks. This really happens.
  • Candide does what any normal man would do when faced with butt-biting monkeys: he shoots them. Again, he acts first and asks questions later.
  • He’s feeling pretty good about himself until he sees that the girls are crying.
  • Cacambo informs him that the monkeys were the girls’ lovers.
  • The men hide to avoid these hysterical women and go to sleep.
  • When they wake up, they are bound and unable to move.
  • The people of the girls, the Oreillons, plan to boil and skewer the men for food.
  • Cacambo explains to their captors in the native tongue that they are not Jesuits, the enemy of the Oreillons, but in fact have just killed a Jesuit and stolen his clothes.
  • The Oreillons confirm Cacambo’s story, release the men, and treat them as honored guests. How fortunate! This is surely the best of all possible worlds.