Study Guide

Candide Chapter 5

By Voltaire

Chapter 5

  • The ship starts splitting and taking on water.
  • The people on the ship act accordingly; that is, they scream and run around.
  • James the Anabaptist saves a sailor from drowning, but in doing so falls overboard himself.
  • The sailor, in plain sight of the Anabaptist, does nothing to help him.
  • Everyone on the ship drowns with the exception of the ungrateful sailor, Pangloss, and Candide, who are able to float ashore on a plank.
  • They get ashore and are still pulling seaweed out of their clothes when a massive earthquake hits.
  • 30,000 people are killed.
  • The sailor, still a jerk, steals money from the pockets of the dead in order to buy booze and sleep with prostitutes.
  • Candide was injured in the earthquake. Collapsed on the ground, he believes he is dying and begs Pangloss to help him.
  • Pangloss, however, wants to philosophize about how necessary the earthquake was in this best of all worlds.
  • Candide says something along the lines of "For heaven’s sake, man! Get me water before I faint."
  • Pangloss continues to philosophize while Candide faints.
  • Pangloss figures it’s about time to get some water for his former student.
  • Water does the trick.
  • Candide and Pangloss go about helping people and preaching the necessity of the earthquake.
  • Pangloss is questioned by an officer of the Inquisition about the compatibility of his beliefs with original sin and the Fall of Man. He says that if everything has always been for the best, there would have been no original sin.
  • Pangloss counters that the Fall of Man was a fall into the best world ever.
  • The man retorts that, if the world is necessarily the best, how can there be free will?
  • Through some incredibly contrived logic, Pangloss says it is necessarily the best thing ever for us to have free will, so we do.