The Old Woman and Miss Cunegund Essay

The Old Woman and Miss Cunegund Essay

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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. While Cunegund and the old woman both possess admirable strength, the old woman is pessimistic although realistic, whereas Cunegund is optimistic but impractical.
Cunegund complains continually about her misfortunes, but she never takes action to overcome them. The old woman, by comparison, never wavers or complains, and she acts quickly to solve any problems that occur during their traveling. Cunegund is looking for her jewels and other valuables, which have been stolen during the night. She does not know what to do, nor does she see how she will survive the misfortune. Conversely, the more practical and clear-headed old woman informs Cunegund that she suspects a Franciscan priest who once stayed with them in the same inn. Cunegund consoles herself with the knowledge that all men are equally entitled to some material things on this earth and are entitled to enjoy them. Cunegund resents the fact that the thief has not left any money for the three of them. As Candide and Cunegund deliberate about what can be done, the old woman is quick to suggest selling one of the horses they have brought with them for the journey. The old woman adds that she is willing to sacrifice by riding behind Cunegund instead of having her own ride.
The old woman regards the adventure with Cunegund pessimistically, but Cunegund possesses the hope that...


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...ties were destroyed. After finishing her story, the old woman discovers that she has gained the respect of Cunegund, who was listening attentively.
Cunegund and the old lady have both similar and contrasting traits. Both seem to possess admirable strength—in spite of the tragic incidents that have darkened their lives, they have managed to survive and continue to struggle forward. The old woman is not only strong, but also realistic and practical, enabling her to make quick and alert decisions. Cunegund is the younger of the duo. Possibly due to her lack of experience, she is more prone to giving up. It may be that differing degrees of experience and age discrepancy have accounted for the variance in mental maturity. The old lady’s pessimism has hardened her to accept any calamity; whereas the young woman’s youthful optimism has left her unprepared for adversity.

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The Old Woman and Miss Cunegund Essay

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