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Candide: Chapter 28 Summary & Analysis

The Young Baron and Pangloss tell Candide and Martin how they each ended up enslaved. Soon after recovering from the wounds from his fight with Candide, the Baron was kidnapped by Spaniards. After that, he was ransomed by the Church, which sent him to work in Constantinople. There, he was enslaved and sent to the galleys as punishment for bathing naked with a slave boy, in violation of a religious rule he did not know about.
There is extreme irony in the fact that the Baron—a Jesuit priest—is punished for violating an obscure religious rule. The Jesuit Order was founded to combat heresies and challenges to (often obscure) religious rules. The Baron looks like a hypocrite, and this irony is part of Candide's criticism of religion in general and the Jesuits in particular: the Jesuits were considered the greatest enemies of the Enlightenment.
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Pangloss then begins to tell his own story. Though he was hung at the auto-da-fé, this punishment failed to kill him: it was too rainy to burn him after the hanging, and nobody noticed that he was still alive. He revived a day later while a doctor was attempting to dissect his “corpse.” After, he traveled to Constantinople, where he was enslaved for indecently picking up and returning flowers dropped by a woman in a mosque. He was assigned to the same galley as the Young Baron, and by the time Candide found him, the two had been arguing endlessly over whose misfortunes were worse. When asked by Candide if his experiences have changed his philosophy, Pangloss responds that his faith in the harmony of the world is unshaken.
Pangloss' story is so similar to the Baron's that their argument over who has it worse begins to seem ridiculous. Once again, the pursuit of women is the primary source of chaos and misfortune in the novel. Throughout the novel, but especially in its final chapters, the unresolvable arguments of the characters (which never change anything, not even the minds of the others) begin to seem like nothing more than silly, if perhaps comforting, distractions from the constant pile-up of fresh misfortunes.
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