Candide

by: Voltaire

Corruption

Quotes Corruption
Los Padres own everything there, and the people have no money at all. This you must allow is the masterpiece of justice and reason.

Cacambo describes the political situation in Paraguay to Candide after they escape. Instead of fighting against the Jesuits there, Cacambo suggests that they go and fight for them. He describes what he calls their admirable government constituted by priests who own everything. The priests who claim to be Christians control the people with abject poverty. The scenario serves as yet another example of the Catholic church’s hypocrisy.

The ante-chamber, indeed, was only decorated with rubies and emeralds; but the order in which everything was arranged made amends for this great simplicity.

Candide describes a private residence he and Cacambo visit in El Dorado, a kingdom where abundance turns the valuation of material possessions and money upside down. Children play games with precious jewels found like common pebbles in the street and people use gold and silver as common home construction materials. Candide’s evaluation of the home as comparatively plain because only rubies and emeralds were used humorously reflects this devaluation of wealth. The implication can be drawn that money has no power to corrupt because everyone has enough.

“I will answer that this will make them happy.” “I don’t believe so,” said Martin; “perhaps this money will only make them wretched.”

Consistent with his pessimistic beliefs, Martin predicts to Candide that the considerable sums of money he bestows upon Pacquette and the Friar Giroflée will not result in their happiness but in their sadness. Candide gives the money anyway because he feels happy to meet with a woman whom he never thought he would see again, hoping that the same will be true of Cunégonde.