Essay on The Old Woman and Miss Cunegund

Essay on The Old Woman and Miss Cunegund

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Candide is a satirical piece written by Voltaire, the great French historian and philosopher during the Age of Enlightenment. There are two contrasting female characters in the literature. Cunegund is the daughter of a baron who experiences unbearable miseries. An unnamed old woman is a servant of Cunegund who was born as a daughter of a Pope. Candide, who is Cunegund’s lover, is also a traveling companion. Even though both Cunegund and the old woman share similarities in their respective lives, and possess admirable strength, they contrast in that the old woman is pessimistic and realistic while Cunegund is optimistic and impractical.
The old woman is more practical and realistic than Cunegund, who is looking for her jewels and other valuable possessions which have been stolen during the night. She does not know what to do, and cannot figure out how she will survive through the misfortune. Conversely, the more clear-headed old woman tells Cunegund that she suspects a Franciscan priest who has stayed with them in the same inn. In consolation, Cunegund comforts herself with the knowledge that all men are equally entitled to some material things on this earth, and can therefore enjoy those goods. This is actually advice given in the past by a teacher of hers. However, Cunegund resents the fact that the thief has not left anything for the three of them. As Candide and Cunegund deliberate on what then can be done, the old woman is quick to suggest selling one of the horses they have brought with them for the travel. The old woman adds that she is willing to sacrifice by riding behind Cunegund. Cunegund always complains about her misfortunes, but she never takes an action to overcome the difficulties she faces. The old woman never wav...


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...rties destroyed. After relating the history of her life, the old woman gains the respect of Cunegund, who has attentively listened.
The two lady characters appear to be both of admirable strength. In the midst of gloomy and tragic incidents that have shadowed their lives, they manage to survive and continue to struggle. Although they have those similar traits, they also have contrasting characteristics. The old woman is not only strong, but also realistic and practical. The old woman shows alertness and a quick mind when she suggests outright to sell one of the horses just so they can go on with their journey. Cunegund is the younger of the duo. Possibly owing to her lesser years of experience, she is more prone to almost surrendering or giving up. It may be that wider experience and the discrepancy in their age have accounted for the variance in mental maturity.

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The Old Woman and Miss Cunegund Essay

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