Doctor Pangloss (“le plus profound metaphysician d’Allemagne” (27: 85-88) and the Baron (one of the foremost ‘d’lempire’’(ibid.)) bartered for a mere 50,000 gold coins. Even the six crowned heads of Europe (Chapter 26) are dethroned and forced to beg for alms from the disinterested Candide. Life turns sour. Love turns sour. Cunegonde herself - perfect epitome of the moral of story – was originally a beautiful princess. The book’s ending describes her as “fearfully ugly”, extraordinarily so, in fact: “All weather-beaten, her eyes bloodshot, her breasts sunken, her cheeks lined, her arms red and chapped.” (Barber, 1960, p.5-6). Is there a message here in the implication that Cunegonde has become not just simply ugly but an anti-beauty? Candide’s romantic love dissipates when he finds himself face to face with an old toad princess. He is seized with horror and recoils.
‘Candide’ is not just the fall of youth from innocence. The entire story seethes with disharmony. The child, Candide, initially believes in an ordered universe that is run by respectable grownups. He soon realizes that credulity, superstition, and brutality dominate. There is the brutality and senselessness of the mass slaughter of the seven years war with superstition involved: The warring armies solicit and claim God’s blessings for their respective causes (3: 13-14). Individuals are punished for refusing to eat pork, the man from Bilbao is imprisoned for impinging on consanguinity laws, and Candide himself is lashed for have listened “avec un air d’approabtion” (6:10-13). Most tellingly, the Inquisition (represented by “les sages du pays”) prescribe the ceremonial roasting of a few people to prevent further earthquakes (chapter 5). And all of this is excused by man’s self-deception and rationalizations. From Pangloss