Candide’s story reflects misfortunes that befell a young man in his pursuit of happiness. Pangloss is a rich man who takes in his nephew, Candide, into his magnificent castle and lives with him. At the castle life seems to be at its best as he learns from his host that the “world is the best” that could ever be in the Universe. Candide lives believing philosophies taught to him by Pangloss who, apparently, was a great philosopher. Pangloss’ daughter catches Candide’s eye in the castle. The master of the house gets them as they try to engage in a romantic affair. The episode earns Candide a dismissal from the castle because he is sent away with nothing. Candide is forced to fight for survival as he encounters countless life-threatening events outside Pangloss’ castle. Despite all the suffering, Candide often looks back to remember his fair at the castle, but cannot get closer to win her from the father.
The Fair Cunegonde is Not So Fair at the End of Candide
The master’s daughter, Cunegonde, is described as one of the fairest women in Pangloss’ castle. She is a rich man’s daughter who is regarded with uttermost attentions and care by all the servants in the castle. Voltaire (9) gives a clear account of the beauty of Pangloss’ young daughter. She is described as a pure woman who was only “seventeen years of age.” The fresh colored Cunegonde is desirable in the eyes of many: a plumb young girl who is “comely” and very respectful. She is a maiden in the castle: handled with tender care and accorded the family’s prestigious treat. She is Candide’s favorite as he delights in watching her walk in the park. This makes Candide desire her more and more every moment. Candide describes the pleasure of seeing her as a second “degree of happiness” (Voltaire 10). He, however, does not tell his first degree of happiness.
The beauty of the Pangloss’ maiden overwhelms Candide because he desires to marry her. During his stay at the castle, Candide could not hold himself until he expressed his inner thoughts to her. However, the moment was the beginning of his predicaments because he is sent out of his master’s luxurious home. Although, Candide keeps on desiring Cunegonde, her beauty is only for a while. Once their castle is raided during a war, her beauty slowly begins to wane off as she is turned into a maid and sex slave.
Voltaire gives a distinct description of the young lady who once was marked as a beautiful and desirable girl in Pangloss’castle. After the raid, her masters misuse her. The two men take advantage and molest her every time they come back from their errands. Her beauty gradually fades as she turns from her princess stature into a common slave. All her predicaments after separation from Candide does not favor her as every moment gets worse from one slave master to another. The misfortunes continue happening until she meets with Candide again. Although they still remember their past, Cunegonde has lost all her beauty and all that left between them was the promise that Candide made to her for marriage.
Why Voltaire’s Purpose in Writing is not served by Candide Leaving His Beautiful Lady
Candide has a remarkable beginning that attracts the attentions of the reader to a relaxing atmosphere of success, luxury, and happy life. Candide is portrayed as a child who is lucky to have fallen in to the hands of a wealthy man. Hence, to the reader, Candide should live a better life than other common people outside the Pangloss’ palace. As the story progresses, Voltaire begins a chapter that demonstrates the beginning of a ‘lasting’ love affair. It is illustrated as the story of a prince and princess. However, the theme does not hold water because the predicaments begin to unfold soon after the first love encounter. Unlike most love stories, the connection between Candide and Cunegonde does not last long enough to describe a fairy tale.
The picture of the two lovebirds begins to fade after Candide is thrown out of the castle. He is not given a chance to fight for his love, Cunegonde. Although he is still in love with her, Candide faces difficulties outside the castle that render him incapable of getting closer to the castle again (Voltaire 10). As life events continually push him far off the castle, he prioritizes to fight for his own survival. Although the story takes a new turn once he meets with Cunegonde and Pangloss again, the two lovebirds do not have a strong connection as it used to be in the castle (Voltaire & Weller 41). Cunegonde’s beauty has long gone, while her brother does not agree with her sister’s decision to get married to a “commoner” (Rozakis 107). The dream of being together is tampered as Candide kills his brother-in-law, and is forced to flee.
It is evident in Candide that the Cunegonde and her lifetime lover cannot have their dream marriage come true. Candide spends the rest of his life fighting to ensure that he rescues his princess from her sex-masters. He uses his fortune, and together with his best friend Cacambo tries to plot for a way to buy her off. Candide’s plan makes way as they all come together in the end. However, the end is not similar to that planned in the beginning. This is because Candide keeps his promise to marry Cunegonde, but does not love her as he used to in the castle. This is because her beauty has faded away. On the other hand, he has also grown tired because of the hardships he has grown through (Voltaire 1).
Is the Old Woman Always “Ugly”?
The author has illustrated two significant faces of the old woman. She is portrayed as the woman that helps deserted people at the beginning of the story. The old woman helps Candide after he had been attacked and left to die. She becomes the helping hand that Candide requires in order to survive. Although she is old, she manages to help the young man to recover from his ailing wounds because of the fight he has had. Again, she is depicted as a kindhearted lady who connects Candide to his long lost love, Cunegonde. She takes Candide to Cunegonde with whom he had lost contact after he was thrown out of Pangloss’ palace. However, Voltaire changes the picture by highlighting a devastating experience that the old woman has gone through before meeting with Candide.
The old woman's ugly side is seen once she tells the young lovers of her life story. She tries to explain to Cunegonde that she has gone through a hard time in the past. Although Cunegonde does not take her first word, it becomes evident after she hears her story. The audience comes to know her “backside” once she spoke to Candide and Cunegonde about her dark past of being molested and enslaved despite being a Pope’s child (Voltaire & Weller 41). This story does not only raise curiosity of the audience, but also paints another picture of a woman who is in pain of her beauty being ripped off yet she has lived with it to her old age.