The Role Of Women In Voltaire's Candide

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Women in the 18th century often did not have a say in life decisions. They were subjected to the whims of the men around them. In the classic novel, Candide, by Voltaire, the main love interest, Cunegonde, is the victim of this time period. When she is reunited with Candide, she decides to tell him her “story” after he was booted out of the house by her father. Cunegonde essentially divulges that men were imposing their thoughts on her without care for her feelings. This reveals Voltaire’s intention to disclose the inequalities of social standards on females and their feelings of oppression. (grammar???) No matter what horrors are happening to and around a woman, she is unable to prevent or assuage the situation. The moment the Thunder-ten-tronckh family gets murdered by the Bulgars, the lovely Cunegonde gets ravished…show more content…
Men made all decisions for women; in doing so, men control women’s fate. For Cunegonde, being ravished was only the beginning to her suffering and oppression. She gets rescued from the Bulgar by a Bulgar captain, but only because the captain noticed the lack of respect his soldier showed him. Once again, Cunegonde’s thoughts and opinions are completely worthless to those in charge. The Bulgar captain decides her fate for her by taking her as a prisoner of the war; he thought her “pretty as well as useful” (41). However, after he had run out of money and “had grown tired of [her] he sold [her] to Don Issachar” (41). Men who lived during the 18th century were clearly able to do as they please with women without a care for their feelings. Voltaire brings this issue up an abounding number of times in order to raise awareness to those living in his time period about the oppression of women. He attempts to make the public realize that the popular saying, “women are to be seen and not heard,” is not acceptable because women do have feelings and thoughts that get trapped in the 18th century
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