Candide Satire Analysis

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Voltaire employs his great wit and satire throughout Candide to highlight numerous shortcomings of society. The slave trade, ignorance, aristocracy, war, religion, and government all are highlighted and quickly besmirched with typical aphorism. The idea of gender inequality and a pervading patriarchy appears in the work, but never becomes directly addressed. The women of Candide all are subject to rape, abuse, and other injustices, yet rarely do they complain or receive reasonable justification for these crimes. While ideas of liberty and equality are clearly present, they don’t extend to women whatsoever. In a strange juxtaposition of logic, Candide asserts that Cunégonde “is under the deepest obligations… she wants to be my wife” and yet…show more content…
Patriarchy remains deeply ingrained, and merely becomes a normal occurrence to the characters it affects. The old lady, whose appearance is desecrated with eyes that are “sore and bloodshot”, and a nose that “touch[es] [her] chin” has been broken down both physically and emotionally by the abuse she receives (49). By the age of fourteen she already had magnificent “beauty, grace, and accomplishments” and was poised to live a superb life for herself (49). Yet even at such a young age she was already falling prey to the hostile world of patriarchy; by the age of fourteen she was already an object of desire despite her youthful innocence, and “there was not a man who did not yearn” to see her undress (50). Yet it was these same men who viewed her as a delicate object of desire that tore her mother and friends “limb from limb, slashed, and massacred” them, and it was the same men who violated her and tossed her aside like discarded refuse (52). A more harrowing account of this inequality emanates from the story of Cunégonde. A vile Bulgar Brute ravishes her, at first she “cried for help, struggling, biting, and scratching as hard as [she] could” while being attacked (41). As she retells her story years later, she seems beaten down and resigned to her fate similar to the old woman; she reflects that her actions of resistance were naïve because she “didn’t appreciate that what

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