Notes on Candide Themes

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Candide Topic Tracking: Pride

Chapter 1

Pride 1: 71 quarterings (in reality, quarterings are counted in multiples of four) would have been sufficient to prove noble lineage. A man is knighted with just sixteen quarterings (c.f. coat of arms and heraldry).

Chapter 7

Pride 2: Cunégonde proudly declares she is a lady of honor. Being raped by a Bulgarian soldier only strengthens her virtue. Though her family is dead, and her castle destroyed, she insists she is still a Baroness.

Now that she is the mistress of Don Issachar, Cunégonde makes sure to tell the Grand Inquisitor that she is of noble birth. The inquisitor tells her that such a lady should not be the property of a Jew, but he does not think it beneath her to be his own slave. Furthermore, he is willing to share Cunégonde with Don Issachar.

Chapter 10

Pride 3: Cunégonde challenges the old woman to prove that she has suffered worse misfortunes. Cunégonde emphasizes that she was born with 71 quarterings but that she was also a kitchen wench. These competing and comically incongruous titles mock Cunégonde's pride.

Chapter 13

Pride 4: The narrator notes that the Governor's haughty airs make him insufferable.

The old woman reminds Cunégonde that in order to reappoint herself to a position as noble as a baroness, Cunégonde would do well to marry the Governor. Ironically, the old woman advises Cunégonde not to miss this opportunity to step up the social ladder just because she loves Candide.

Chapter 14

Pride 5: The narrator hits three birds with one stone when he remarks that the German Commandant is haughty in a different way than Spaniards and Jesuits are haughty. The narrator's assumption that the reader already knows that Spaniards and Jesuits are proud is a comical jab at them as well as the Commandant.

Chapter 15

Pride 6: The Baron forbids Candide to marry his sister. And, like his sister before him, he proudly mentions his family's 71 quarterings, hardly a relevant fact considering their present circumstances. It seems Candide does deserve to marry Cunégonde, considering that her stock has dropped in value ever since she was deflowered by a Bulgarian soldier. Candide naively thinks he deserves Cunégonde's hand in marriage because he did her the favor of liberating her from the Inquisitor and Don Issachar. But Cunégonde seemed content with her opulent life with Don Issachar. She remarked that his house was much more grand than the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh.

Chapter 27

Pride 7: Though the sultan Achmet has been dethroned, he still requires a ridiculous gesture of deference from Cacambo and Candide as they board his ship. When Candide buys the Baron's son's freedom from the Levantine ship captain, Pangloss falls to Candide's feet in gratitude. The Baron's son is too proud to acknowledge Candide's generosity and he only gives a slight gesture of thanks and says he will reimburse Candide.

Chapter 28

Pride 8: The Baron's son arrogantly overstates his case, saying that his relegation to a galley ship is the greatest injustice of the world, while he is indignant that his sister, a Baroness no less, is washing dishes for a has-been prince.

Chapter 29

Pride 9: When the Baron's son sees Cunégonde washing towels and hanging them out to dry, he blanches. His pride cannot withstand seeing his sister the Baroness in such a lowly position.

Candide offers to marry Cunégonde out of a sense of duty. Though Cunégonde is ugly, and without charm and a castle, the Baron's son proudly refuses to recognize Candide's gesture.

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