On the way to Constantinople with Cacambo and his master, Candide and Martin learn that Cacambo bought Cunégonde and the old woman from Don Fernando, but that a pirate abducted them and sold them as slaves. Cunégonde has grown horribly ugly, but Candide resolves to love her anyway. Candide purchases Cacambo’s freedom. Upon arriving in Turkey, Candide recognizes two galley slaves as the baron and Pangloss. Candide also buys their freedom.
While the group travels to rescue Cunégonde, the baron and Pangloss tell their stories. The baron bears no ill will toward Candide for stabbing him. After his wound healed, Spanish troops attacked him and sent him to jail in Buenos Aires. The baron eventually returned to Rome to serve his Jesuit order, but was caught bathing naked with a young Turkish man and sent to the galleys.
The executioner who was to hang Pangloss was inexperienced in hangings and made the noose badly, so Pangloss survived. A surgeon bought Pangloss’s body for dissection. Pangloss regained consciousness after being cut open, and the startled surgeon sewed him closed again. Pangloss then traveled to Constantinople. He entered a mosque and saw a pretty young woman drop her nosegay from her bosom. Pangloss picked it up and returned it to her bosom “with the most respectful attentions.” Her male companion thought he was taking too long with it, so he had Pangloss arrested. Pangloss was then whipped and sent to the galleys. However, he still believes that pre-established harmony is the “finest notion in the world.”
Candide purchases the old woman, Cunégonde, and a small farm. Cunégonde reminds Candide of his promise to marry her. Though horrified by her ugliness, Candide does not dare refuse. However, the baron again declares that he will not live to see his sister marry beneath her rank.
I should like to know which is worse, being raped a hundred times by negro pirates . . . or . . . just sitting here and doing nothing?
Pangloss draws up a formal treatise declaring that the baron has no rights over his sister. Martin is in favor of drowning the baron. Cacambo suggests that they return the baron to the galleys without telling Cunégonde, and that is the course they choose.
Cunégonde grows uglier and more disagreeable every day. Cacambo works in the garden of the small farm. He hates the work and curses his fate. Pangloss is unhappy because he has no chance of becoming an important figure in a German university. Martin is patient because he imagines that in any other situation he would be equally unhappy. They all debate philosophy while the misery of the world continues. Pangloss still maintains that everything is for the best but no longer truly believes it. Paquette and Giroflée arrive at the farm, having squandered the money Candide gave them. They are still unhappy, and Paquette is still a prostitute.