Study Guide

Candide Chapter 22

By Voltaire

Chapter 22

  • Candide and Martin travel toward Venice. Candide wants to make a detour to Paris since he has heard it praised (except by Martin, who hates everything).
  • Candide feels a little sick from his journey. Because everyone can see that he’s rich, attendees quickly surround him to treat his illness.
  • Because their medicine involves making Candide vomit and bleed, he becomes gradually sicker before ultimately recovering.
  • Candide gambles and is astounded when he loses. Martin is not at all surprised.
  • Candide goes to the theater and meets an Abbé (the French word for abbot). He asks him how many "theatrical pieces" exist in France.
  • The Abbé tells him there are about five or six thousand ("Wow!" says Candide) and that about fifteen are good ("Wow!" says Martin).
  • Meanwhile, one of the actresses, a Mademoiselle Clairon, reminds Candide of Cunégonde.
  • The Cunégonde look-alike impresses him, and the Abbé offers to introduce him to her.
  • When that doesn’t work (Clairon was either busy or uninterested), the Abbé arranges for Candide and Martin to meet another woman called the Marchioness of Parolignac. (Note: at least one edition calls her the Marchioness of Doublestakesworth.)
  • Candide gambles and is not concerned with his substantial loss of money.
  • Over dinner, a scholar discusses literature and, in particular, tragedies. He tells us what makes great literature so great. This is interesting, and we suggest you flag this page in your book.
  • Candide, after some inquiry, finds out that the scholar is brilliant and wrote a book that didn’t sell so well. Candide declares him a wonderful man, a "second Pangloss."
  • Candide asks the scholar his opinion on the goodness of the universe. The scholar responds that he finds that things exist in a perpetual state of annoyance and disagreement with one another.
  • Martin and Candide exchange more philosophical banter about whether absolute necessity is compatible with free will.
  • The Marchioness of Parolignac seduces Candide, despite his stated dedication to Cunégonde. Sex follows.
  • After the sex, the Marchioness praises Candide’s rings (which were part of the mass of treasure he brought from El Dorado); Candide allows her to keep them.
  • The Abbé, who is a conniving fraud, pries Candide for information about Cunégonde. He forges a letter from Cunégonde to Candide, informing Candide that she is in France.
  • When Candide receives the letter, he immediately leaves for her supposed hotel. Once in Cunégonde’s room, an officer arrives and threatens to arrest them.
  • Quickly, Martin and Candide realize they’ve been set up.
  • Candide bribes the officer with some diamonds. Since bribes seem to be working, he gets the officer’s brother to arrange a ship to England.