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Candide: Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Candide goes into battle with the Bulgarians against the Abares. While the army band plays fifes, tambourines, and oboes, cannons blast. He hides the entire battle. When the fighting is over, he walks alone across the field, lost in contemplation, surveying the dead. He visits two villages: one destroyed by the Bulgarians, the other by the Abares, both filled with the slain, the dying, the dismembered, the raped, and the otherwise miserable.
The music of the army band contrasts with the awful noise of cannons, symbolically undermining the idea of war as beautiful and glorious. The destruction wrought by the enemy armies, whatever their reasons for fighting, are indistinguishable: the novel suggests that war is the real problem, not one side or the other.
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Having nothing, Candide makes his way to Holland, because he’s heard that it is a rich country. He begs for food, but receives only threats in return. Finally, he speaks to a Protestant Orator, in the middle of giving a speech on charity, who asks if he believes that the Pope is the Antichrist. When Candide says that he does not know, and that it has nothing to do with his lack of food, the orator's wife empties a chamber pot on his head.
Because of the sharp divide between Catholics and Protestants, the hypocritical orator refuses to help Candide without a denunciation of the Pope—even though he's giving a speech on charity!
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Seeing how badly Candide is being treated, a kind Anabaptist named Jacques takes him home, cleans him, feeds him, and helps him recover. Candide, relieved, expresses his renewed faith in Pangloss' optimism.
Jacques the Anabaptist is one of the only sympathetic religious figures in Candide. Unlike Protestants and Catholics of the time, Anabaptists had few powerful supporters, suggesting that religion is corrupted by power. Despite all he has seen of war and casual cruelty, Candide still believes in Pangloss’s optimistic teaching that everything in the world is for the best.
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