Free Study Guide: Candide by Voltaire - Synopsis / Analysis|
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CANDIDE: LITERARY CRITICISM / LESSON PLANS
Voltaire attacks the hypocrisy prevailing in the name of religion. He tells us that amidst bloodshed, murder and rape the Moslems never failed to pray five times a day as prescribed by their religious leader Mahomet. Voltaire is trying to explain satirically that neither Moslems nor Christians practice what they preach or claim to believe.
The good-looking white man is a eunuch as a result of the evil practice
of castration of young choirboys.
The lady and the eunuch recognized each other. The eunuch used to be the court musician to her mother. He was castrated so that he could sing beautifully in the church choir. Thousands of other children in Naples were castrated every year. The eunuch was sent to a Christian power by the King of Morocco to make a treaty. He had just concluded the treaty. His ‘Christian’ country would supply guns to the Muslim King of Morocco to destroy the trade of other Christian countries.
The eunuch sold her to the governor of Algiers as a slave. Both men died because of Plague. She was then sold in Tunis, Tripoli, Alexandria, Smyrna, and Constantinople. Then a Turkish officer took her to the defense of Azou.
The starving Turkish garrison decided to eat women. However, a priest warned them no to do so. He told them to eat one buttock from each lady. Then the fort fell. The Russians arrived. A French doctor cured the women.
A Russian made her a gardener in Moscow till he fell from power. She
escaped across Europe. She often felt like committing suicide. Yet more
often she wanted to live. Everywhere she met people who hated their lives,
but she had known only twelve suicides.
Voltaire has introduced extreme despair in the story of the eunuch as well as the old lady. Injustice, selfishness, and lust caused so much evil and immense suffering to mankind throughout the world. Under such circumstances death would be welcome. Yet people prefer life to death. Though people hate life, the old lady has come across only twelve suicides. At the end of the novel, it is realized that life can be at least made tolerable.
Voltaire speaks of two more disasters over which human beings have no control. They are plague and famine. The soldiers ate human flesh. Such gory details are terrifying. They again disprove Pangloss’s views.
The Russians attacked Azou in 1695. Voltaire alters facts of history for the convenience of his fiction writing.
The lady who is the Pope’s and a princess’ daughter is sold again and again
like a commodity. This is ironical and shows the lack of human values.
It is eerie to think that the eunuch has been castrated so that he can
sing beautifully in the church choir. One can hardly believe so much cruelty
in the name of religion. This shows that even extremely deplorable acts
can be excused on the pretext of religion. Thus Voltaire satirizes religion.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on Candide".
. 09 May 2017