|Candide Group Analysis Chapters 6-10
Divide up and answer questions 1-10 among your group members. You may answer writing neatly on loose leaf, or you may use a laptop. Make sure every contributing student’s name is on the work with your block and today’s date.
1. After espousing their ideas on the philosophy of Optimism, Pangloss and Candide, not knowing that they are in the company of Inquisitors, find themselves in trouble. Reread the first paragraph of chapter 6 in order to explain, in your own words, the purpose of burning people at the stake in Libson. On what charges were Pangloss and Candide arrested? Explain the irony in responding to a tragedy by invoking more tragedy.
2. An Auto-de-fe’ in medieval Spanish means “act of faith”. It was a ritual where people were tried and condemned based on their religious views. The punishment of the condemned included torture and burning at the stake. Explain how Pangloss and Candide are punished. Why is Pangloss condemned to a more serious penalty than Candide? Then, analyze how an auto-de-fe’, in Voltaire’s opinion, is an ironic form of religious practice.
3. Using direct quotes from the chapter, explain the twist that occurs in chapter 7. What is symbolic about the old woman’s participation in the twist?
4. Burning at the stake of heretics was mainly directed at the Jews during the Spanish Inquisition. Shortly after Pangloss and Candide suffer the auto-de-fe’, the character Don Issachar, a Jewish businessman, is introduced. Given that Candide is a satire exposing the ills of society, what do you think Voltaire is saying through the auto-de-fe’ and the characterization of Don Issachar about anti-Semitism during the 18th Century? How does the burial of Don Issachar (quote the line from the end of chapter 9) reflect Voltaire’s view of anti-Semitism?
5. Review Cunegonde’s story in chapter 8 in order to explain the irony of Cunegonde’s beauty. How does her beauty continue to plague her? Refer to chapter 1 to tie together this opinion by Voltaire about women and beauty and society.
6. What do you think Voltaire is saying about ownership of women in the deal made between the Grand Inquisitor who covets Cunegonde and Don Issachar? Cunegonde’s ability to refuse each man her love reflects Voltaire’s opinion of women. What is it? Cite a quote from chapter 8 to support your answer.
7. In chapter 8, Cunegonde experiences a turning point in her belief of Optimism and all that she was taught by Pangloss. How does this happen? Do you think at this point, Candide agrees with Cunegonde that all is not for the best in the best of all possible worlds? Support your choice with evidence from the previous chapters.
8. The climax of this part of the novel happens in chapter 9 when Candide kills both Don Issachar and the Grand Inquisitor. Explain the irony in the fact that neither man is able to kill Candide. What allows Candide to prevail: Love, the experience of tragedies, maturation, or Pangloss’s teachings? Be specific in making your choice, and support it with detailed evidence from the events thus far in the novel.
9. After Candide has risked his life for Cunegonde by committing two murders, she exclaims, “What are we to live on? Whatever shall we do? Where shall I find more Inquisitors and Jews to replace them?” (46). How is this an example of caustic wit? What does Cunegonde think of herself, if she laments the loss of two men who abused her? What does this suggest she is seeking in a man?
10. By the middle of chapter 10, it appears that Candide reaffirms his belief in Optimism. Why do you think this happens? Why do you think Voltaire inserts this into his novel that pokes fun of Optimism? Following his statement that, “It is undoubtedly the new world that is the best of all possible universes” (48) the old woman counters him. What might this final twist suggest?
More Info about the Auto de fe’
The auto de fe’ involved: a Catholic Mass, prayer, a public procession of those found guilty, and a reading of the sentences. The auto de fe’ took place in public squares or esplanades and lasted several hours. Artistic representations of the auto de fe’ usually depict torture and the burning at the stake. However, this type of activity never took place during an auto de fe’, which was in essence a religious act or act of faith. Torture was not administered after a trial concluded, and executions were always held after and separate from the auto de fe’.