Free Study Guide: Candide by Voltaire - Synopsis / Analysis|
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CANDIDE: BOOK SUMMARY / ONLINE NOTES
The old lady is like a Good Samaritan to Candide. She is a mother figure
who gives him comfort. She gives him a place to stay and food to eat.
She introduces him to Cunégonde. This is a surprising co-incident.
Voltaire has pointed out the inhuman behavior of the society when he tells
us that Cunégonde was raped and her family was massacred. Compared
to the people, who did so, the old lady is certainly an extremely humane
and considerate person. In the later chapters, the reader comes to know
that she is the daughter of the Pope and a Princess. She has gone through
monumental suffering. Yet she does whatever she can to relieve the suffering
Cunégonde describes how her family’s castle was invaded. She
resisted a huge Bulgar as he raped her. He stabbed her on the side. A
Bulgar captain came in and killed him. Then he took Cunégonde as
a prisoner of war. Later he sold her to a Jewish banker, Don Issachar.
She claims to have resisted his advances. Being threatened with auto-da-fé,
he agreed to share her with the Grand Inquisitor. He now has her on Mondays,
Wednesdays and the Sabbath. The Inquisitor has her on other days. She
describes her invitation to auto-dafé. Ladies were served refreshments
between mass and execution. She was surprised to see Pangloss and Candide.
She realized that Pangloss had cheated her in claiming that all was for
the best. She recalls all her sufferings and the kiss behind the screen,
which caused them. She is grateful to God that the old woman brought her
to Candide. She offers him supper. Don Issachar arrives.
In this chapter, the reader is told further about the inhuman behavior prevailing in society. A Bulgar rapes Cunégonde. The Bulgar captain later sells her off as though she was a commodity. She is now shared by two men. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. It is the day of rest. The Jewish Sabbath begins on Saturday. The Christian Sabbath is on Sunday only. Thus this could create a conflict. Therefore, the Inquisitor visits Cunégonde around midnight on Saturday.
The variety of people with whom Cunégonde gets sexually involved depicts the immorality of people from every class, country, religion, and every walk of life.
The auto-da-fé exposes the tremendous superstition prevailing in society.
However, it is not merely a superstitious way of trying to prevent earthquakes.
The Inquisitor may also have another motive and that is to scare away
his Jewish rival and have Cunégonde entirely to himself.
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. 09 May 2017