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Candide: Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

The religious scholars of Lisbon determine that an auto-da-fé (a contemporary ritual for the punishment of sinners and heretics) is the best way to prevent further earthquakes. Pangloss is lead off to be hung for his heresy, and Candide, to be whipped for having listened with approval. The auto-da-fé takes place amid sermons and beautiful church music. At the end of the day, an aftershock of the earthquake takes place. After his whipping, Candide expresses anguish for the loss of Pangloss and Cunégonde, as well as further doubts about the intrinsic goodness of the world.
The auto-da-fé and the aftershock that follows it mock the idea that religious faith might impact events in the world. Clearly, the “sins” of Candide and Pangloss had nothing to do with the earthquake: another happens just after they've been punished. The juxtaposition of beautiful religious music with horrifying punishments emphasizes the disparity between the church's aura of holiness, and the senseless violence it causes.
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