The Corruption Of Family Names In Voltaire's Candide

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Candide is considered one of Voltaire’s influential pieces of work and was full of over the top stock characters and bizarre situations. The satirical work is set up as a long epic following the adventures of the young and fair hero Candide and his quest to find and marry his beloved Cunégonde. Candide meets many different extraordinary people and has several different companions that travel with him throughout Europe as well as the New World Along the way many of these companions and acquaintances are brutally killed and a few turn out to not be as dead as expected. In the end, Candide and company do not end up with an ideal happy ending that was expected. Cunégonde becomes unattractive and the money gathered in El Dorado is used up or stolen,…show more content…
Voltaire was very specific in the names he selected for every one of his characters, since they were not just there to move the plot, but to also represent a larger idea or theme. For example, many scholars have argued that Cunégonde was a French variation on the name Cunigunde, a name often associated with the Nordic area. However, there is also the belief that Voltaire adapted the name to initially sound vulgar with the first syllable sounding like either the Latin word ‘Cunnus’ for female genitalia, or the French word ‘Cul’ for buttocks. The particular choices of names comes through again when Voltaire chooses the name of the nobility. For example, the Baron Thunder-ten-Tronckh has an intentionally guttural sound and excessive length to show the dated sense of the name. The name, although it is the family name, is supposed to show that the power that is obtained through that name from being a noble of the sword is old-fashioned and should not be the end-all and be-all. This obsession with family names that Voltaire comments on appears again with the character Governor of Bueno Aires, Don Fernando d’Ibaraa, y Figueora, y Mascarenes, y Lampourdos, y Souza. The sentiment is that again the focus on title and power has grown beyond ridiculous and that his attitude of imperious superiority all had to do with his long-winded
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