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Candide Symbolism

The symbolism of Candide.
by

Nathan Clouser

on 2 January 2013

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Transcript of Candide Symbolism

Symbolism in Candide Names Gardens The story is riddled with biblical references, but none are as nearly important to the story as gardens are. The act that launches Candide's entire adventure is when he tastes the forbidden fruit(kissing Cunégonde), and is expelled from the garden(the castle). This obvious reference to the Fall of Man in Genesis Chapter 3 is carried through out the story as Candide eventually come to work by the sweat of his brow.(Genesis 3:19) Pangloss v. Martin Pangloss represents the teachings of "Optimism", which was an Enlightenment concept that all was right in the world. No matter what evil was going on, it all had to happen for everything to be right in the end. Martin's character exists as an argument against Optimism. Martin, being a jaded pessimist, argues that the world is quite actually evil, and that God has forsaken the earth. Martin also challenges Candide on numerous occasions to gauge the happiness of people. Even though one would think that someone is happy, Martin represents the foil to Optimism, by claiming that everyone is equally miserable. Candide's relationship with Cunégonde Candide's relationship with Cunégonde represents a lot more than the most determined man on Earth. In Candide's eyes, Cunégonde is a paragon of beauty and purity, but she is no more perfect than any of the other female characters. Though having been raped several times and persuaded by the old woman to marry the Governor of Argentina, Candide see's her as carrying no baggage. Candide did as many did during the time period, and turned a blind eye to the atrocities that women were subject to. Candide Coming from the Latin Candidus, the heros name translates to "pure". However, the sense to which Voltaire employs this term is not to cast Candide a a pure being, but rather as naive or gullible Pangloss The most revered philosopher in all of Westphilia is...all talk. Well, so his name implies. Voltaire often criticized those who "speak in order to say nothing". He accused these people of panglossie, or being all talk. Pan translates to all, and gloss(glossa) to tongue. So he was all tongue or rather all talk. Cunégonde Cunégonde's name requires some historical knowledge. Her name is derived from St. Kunigunde who had taken a vow of chastity, but was later accused of adultery. To prove her innocence, she was put to a trial by fire(auto de fé), and was subsequently canonized a saint. The irony is that Cunégonde was not a virgin, but rather a sex slave of the sort for a part of the story. Another aspect of her name is the rather fowl word hidden in her name. Cuné is a mutation of the Latin word Cunnus, which in English is "C***" Pococuranté This nobleman of Venice found little to joy in just about everything he encountered. His name is a compound of the Italian "Poco" and "Curanté" which translate to little and care respectively.
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