Chapter 8 Notes from Candide

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Candide Chapter 8

"Cunégonde's Story"

Cunégonde says that heaven sent the Bulgarians to her castle while she was asleep. She tells Candide how her mother was sliced to pieces and her father and brother killed by a Bulgarian soldier who was six feet tall-a seemingly trifling detail considering the brutality of the whole affair. The horror of witnessing the murders makes Cunégonde faint. The Bulgarian soldier confuses this as a sexual cue, and he rapes Cunégonde. This helps to revive her. She struggles and the soldier stabs her in her abdomen. With no tact, Candide interrupts her story, stating he hopes to see her scar. She assures him he will.

She resumes her story. When a Bulgarian captain walks in, the soldier just continues raping Cunégonde. The captain is outraged that the soldier fails to salute his captain, so he kills the soldier while Cunégonde lies beneath him.

Topic Tracking: War 4

The captain takes Cunégonde to his quarters. She performs menial duties for him. He thinks she is pretty. Cunégonde remarks that the captain was handsome and had nice skin, but he was not smart because Pangloss had not tutored him. These details seem petty, considering the ordeal she had just undergone. When the captain runs out of money he sells Cunégonde to a Jew named Don Issachar, a merchant and a great admirer of the ladies.

Don Issachar wants to have sex with Cunégonde. She does a better job "resisting" than she did when she was raped by the Bulgarian soldier. She reasons she can still be a chaste and honorable woman in spite of the fact that she was raped.

"[A] lady of honor may be raped once, but it strengthens her virtue." Chapter 7, pg. 30

The Jew takes Cunégonde to Portugal, thinking a change in location might make her more open to his advances. She tells Candide that Don Issachar's house was much better than the castle Thunder-ten-tronckh. In this regard, she seems to be satisfied where she is.

One day at mass, the grand Inquisitor eyeballs Cunégonde. He tells her in private that, being a woman of the noble class, she should not belong to a Jew.

Topic Tracking: Pride 2

The Inquisitor offers to buy her for his own pleasure. Don Issachar refuses. The Inquisitor threatens to conduct an auto-da-fé. Don Issachar allows the Inquisitor to enjoy his house and Cunégonde four days a week, but they quarrel for six months over the exact terms of the agreement. All the while Cunégonde manages to remain chaste.

Cunégonde expresses relief when she tells Candide that finally the Inquisitor decided to take action. To intimidate the Jew further, and to prevent more earthquakes, the Inquisitor arranges an auto-da-fé. He invites Cunégonde to watch. She is honored. She recalls that she had a great seat, and that refreshments were served between mass and the execution. But the executions were appalling. She fainted when she recognized Pangloss, but nothing could match the horror of seeing Candide naked. And his skin looked even lovelier than that of the Bulgarian captain. She wonders how such things can occur, and she questions the validity of Pangloss's optimism.

"Pangloss deceived me cruelly when he said that all is for the best in the world." Chapter 7, pg. 32

She asks her old woman to go and take care of Candide. Cunégonde is happy that they are reunited. Don Issachar arrives to enjoy his allotted time with Cunégonde.

Topic Tracking: Flawed Logic 7

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