Cunegonde is one of the major characters in Candide that plays a key role in developing the theme of love. She is the daughter of a rich philosopher, Pangloss. Pangloss together with her daughter live in their castle. Pangloss has also adopted Candide who is a close relative to him. He takes the young man under his custody and influences his thinking with his philosophical principals. As they interact with each other, Cunegonde falls in love with Candide despite her being the princess in the castle, and Candide a mere person. On the other hand, Candide takes time before revealing his thoughts to her. However, once, they realize that they share common feelings with one another. They hold on to each other despite their differences. Their affair does not last long enough before Pangloss finds out and throws Candide out of his castle. Although, they are continually separated by challenges and life events, Cunegonde and Candide finally get married despite her losing her beauty (Voltaire 1).
Mrs. Robinson is the wife of a businessperson with enough wealth at her disposal. However, Mrs. Robinson decides to go after a young man who has just arrived in town. Benjamin is a University graduate who has arrived home and is yet to join the corporate world for employment. Despite the difference in age, Mrs. Robinson continues with the affair. Later, Benjamin comes to fall in love with a young woman of his age, Elaine. When Mrs. Robinson finds out, she refuses to end the affair with Benjamin, and threatens him that she will spill out the beans in case he leaves her for Elaine. Despite Mrs. Robinson’s effort to win Benjamin, she loses him to Elaine, with whom they run away together on Elaine’s wedding day (Filmsite 1).
Both stories, The Graduate and Candide illustrate the contribution of Cunegonde and Mrs. Robinson in having the man they love. While both characters are portrayed as women who are in love, each has her own path to follow to her destiny. Mrs. Robinson is influential while Cunegonde is a young woman who hardly affects another. While Cunegonde wins Candide by fate, Mrs. Robinson has to have him by force and better still loses him to another woman. The two women are distinctively different in character, behavior, and age. These are some differences, which make their different paths and destinies.
Cunegonde is only a young girl: a teenager still living under her father’s custody (Voltaire 9). The young maiden is hardly experienced in matters concerning men and marital affairs. In the story Candide, the main character is depicted as a quiet girl who stays under the guardianship of Pangloss and her maids. She does not portray habits of interaction with other men. In this context, it took only the boldness of Candide to approach her for their connection to be established. As opposed to the character of Mrs. Robinson, she takes time to decide before taking a step. In addition, Cunegonde has a limited chance for her to do any tricks to win a man under her father’s watch. This is evident when her father chases Candide out of the palace to protect his daughter.
Mrs. Robinson is a free woman. Unlike, Cunegonde she is a woman who is above the age of consent. Mrs. Robinson is free to move to any place she likes without the watch of her husband. This gives her the freedom to do what she wants while alone. Additionally, she is a woman who is experienced in relationships with men basing from her marriage. Hence, she understands what she has to do to win another man.
Mrs. Robinson is forceful and trickery. She takes it upon herself to ensure that she convinces Benjamin that they can have an affair together. Although she knows that Benjamin is only a graduate, she takes advantages of him, because he is still naïve. Mrs. Robinson does not take time to think unlike Cunegonde. Instead, she acts on impulse and does not care about the consequences. For instance, she threatens to tell of their affair in case Benjamin decides to abandon her. Mrs. Robinson also exhibits a character of selfishness and self-interest. The affair with Benjamin is only beneficial to her since Benjamin gets in to the affair because of idleness.
As opposed to Mrs. Robinson, Cunegonde has a privilege of being approached by Candide with whom they share common interests. Cunegonde develops feelings for Candide, but keeps it from him until the right time. Once, they get to understand each other, their relationship becomes mutually beneficial (Voltaire 1). On the other hand, Mrs. Robinson uses her tricks to have Benjamin. Nonetheless, their affair does not befit Benjamin’s interests. Once, he realizes true love with Elaine, Benjamin quickly corrects his mistake and goes after Elaine, thus leaving Mrs. Robinson in desperation. Cunegonde has the best opportunity of being married even after she has lost her womanhood to brutal men. Candide agrees to marry her long after they had been separated and were brought together by fate. Hence, their affair is revived and Candide keeps her promise to marry her (Voltaire & Weller 41).