Cunegonde is the daughter of a wealthy German lord. She is described as “extremely beautiful” (Voltaire. 5) and is repeatedly referred to as “the fair Cunegonde.” (39). She is the typical damsel-in-distress: a woman who is completely reliant on male protection and often fainting at the sight of anything the least bit distressing. She is a vapid beauty and completely obsequious to whomever she happens to belong to at the time. However, Voltaire does not blame her foolish naiveté on her femininity. Candide himself is terribly innocent and is unable to make decisions without the advice of a third party. In a way, Cunegonde accepts her situation in life better than Candide does. She knows that as a woman in the eighteenth century she has few options if she wishes to survive and she is not above using her beauty to her advantage. She never questions or philosophizes like many of the male characters. Her acceptance of the sexual slavery she finds herself in belies an understanding of the limited options women had at the time.
Women in the 1800s had very few choices for advancement in life. They could either marry well or they could become the mistress of a powerful man or both. Cunegonde becomes the mistress of the Grand Inquisitor, a Bulgar captain, and the...
... middle of paper ...
...ir first encounter and believes that she had no choice but to accept the governor’s offer. She states, “An honorable woman may be raped once, but it only makes her virtue stronger.” (24) For her part she does love Candide but it is a shallow love, more akin to lust. She wants to be faithful to Candide, but only if it will support the lifestyle that she is accustomed to.
The women of Voltaire’s Candide emphasize the exploitation of females in the 1800s. Cunegonde, Paquette, and the Old Woman are raped, forced into prostitution, and sexually exploited. Women are valued for their beauty and can only succeed if they have pretty face to recommend them. Women in the nineteenth century exist for the pleasure of men and are subjugated to these men.
Voltaire. Candide Or, Optimism. Trans. Peter Constantine. Modern Library ed. New York: Random House, 2005
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... "What is this optimism?" said Cacambo. "Alas. Said Candide," it is the madness of maintaining that everything is right when it is wrong." (Ch. II) This belief stems from Voltaire 's dissatisfaction with how society treats problems, and how easily the church can manipulate people. Voltaire 's work can be motivated by the disastrous remnants of the crusades, where nobles donning the cross burned, raped, and pillaged their way through Europe in the name of God. This holy war left many Europeans with a bitter sentiment from the churches internal affairs with popes and anti-popes becoming extravagant wars and waste of money.... [tags: Candide, Voltaire, Age of Enlightenment]
1499 words (4.3 pages)
- Voltaire's Candide Throughout the novel, Candide, Voltaire repeatedly exploits the nature of humans to consider other's situations and lifestyles to be better than that of their own. Voltaire uses Candide's journeys to portray the human assumption that the grass is always greener on the other side. This theme is shown in Candide's strife for companionship, his experience with wealth, and his interaction with other characters. The situations that develop the theme do so in such a way that the reader is able to understand and relate to the aspirations of Candide.... [tags: Voltaire Candide Essays]
826 words (2.4 pages)
- Successful Use of Satire in Voltaire's Candide Voltaire's Candide is the story of how one man's adventures affect his philosophy on life. Candide begins his journey full of optimism that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds," but he learns that it is naïve to say that good will eventually come of any evil. Voltaire successfully uses satire as a means of conveying his opinions about many aspects of European society in the eighteenth century. He criticizes religion, the evils found in every level of society, and a philosophy of optimism when faced with an intolerable world. Candide portrays religious persecution as one of the most worst aspects of society. Voltaire rejects... [tags: Candide essays Voltaire ]
1563 words (4.5 pages)
- The Effective Satire of Voltaire's Candide In Candide, Voltaire sought to point out the fallacy of Gottfried Leibniz's theory of optimism and the hardships brought on by the resulting inaction toward the evils of the world. Voltaire's use of satire, and its techniques of exaggeration and contrast highlight the evil and brutality of war and the world in general when men are meekly accepting of their fate. Leibniz, a German philosopher and mathematician of Voltaire's time, developed the idea that the world they were living in at that time was "the best of all possible worlds." This systematic optimism shown by Leibniz is the philosophical system that believed everything already was for... [tags: Voltaire Candide Essays]
1191 words (3.4 pages)
- Voltaire's Candide Character Analysis Voltaire's Candide seems to display a world of horror, one filled with floggings, rapes, robberies, unjust executions, disease, natural disasters, betrayals and cannibalism. Pangloss, the philosopher, has a constant optimistic view throughout the entire novel even despite all of the cruelty in the world. While looking back on the book I couldn't think of many characters that displayed admirable qualities. Even though Pangloss stuck to his views that everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, which is admirable, he is stupid and naive to still believe this after everything he and his family goes through.... [tags: Voltaire Candide Essays Papers]
1423 words (4.1 pages)
- Rising Above a Corrupt World in Voltaire's Candide Society can be, and is, corrupt in many different ways. Within our lives we are subject, but not limited to, corruptions within religion, corruptions of morals, and corruption within the government. Voltaire, the author of Candide, uses a naïve protagonist to illustrate his view of the world. Candide, surrounded by a corrupt society, and bombarded by various character defining events, is able to come to a higher understanding as to his philosophy of life.... [tags: Candide Voltaire Corruption Essays]
1569 words (4.5 pages)
- This epic satire zeroes in on Voltaire’s criticisms against the Catholic Church, related through a dry comedy and swift plot. This is the life of Candide, the main character, his journey around the world and adventures. Candide opens with blatant mockery of society, government, and religion, but he also mocked the philosophy of optimism by philosopher Leibniz. To make the novel more alive, he uses real events that have happened in the world. This mockery of society can lead one to read it as a less blatant commentary on gender roles and xenophobia.... [tags: Catholic Church, mockery, satire, xenophobia]
926 words (2.6 pages)
Candide The Musical And American Born Chinese Are An Exploitation Of Their Respective Originals. Candide
- ... xii) This story is of a man by the name of Candide, a young man who was born into a world surrounded by royalty and wealth. He had a love interest by the name of Mademoiselle Cunégonde and was taught by a philosopher named Pangloss. Omitted Messages and Meanings from the Musical After Candide was ousted from the castle in Westphalia he was enlisted into the Bulgarian Army. The musical left out the dialogue that Candide had with the Bulgarians when they fed him at the tavern. The Bulgarians are questioning Candide about his loyalty to the Bulgarian king.... [tags: Candide, Voltaire, Novel, Bulgaria]
905 words (2.6 pages)
- Voltaire's Candide Candide is a reflection of the philosophical values of the Enlightenment. Voltaire’s novel is a satire of the Old Regime ideologies in which he critiques the political, social, and religious ideals of his time. A common intellectual characteristic of the Enlightenment was anti-feudalism. Philosophers were against the separations in the Old Regime and pushed for equality among human beings. Voltaire parodies the pompousness of the nobility several times throughout his novel.... [tags: Enlightenment Voltaire Essays]
982 words (2.8 pages)
- The Confused Males of Montesquieu’s Persian Letters, Voltaire’s Candide, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, and Rousseau’s First and Second Discourses “Now my father was then holding one of his second beds of justice, and was musing within himself about the hardships of matrimony, as my mother broke silence.— —My brother Toby, quoth she, is going to be married to Mrs. Wadman.” —Then he will never, quoth my father, be able to lie diagonally in his bed again as long as he lives.” (Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy) The eighteenth century, what a magnificent time—a contemporary critic is likely to exclaim, and indeed it was.... [tags: Candide]
2498 words (7.1 pages)