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Character Analysis

Cunégonde and the Cunégonde of Candide’s imagination represent two distinct characters in Candide. Like the Old Woman, Cunégonde is subject to horrific violence, both sexual and otherwise. A woman of social status, she is reduced to servitude. Ultimately, her horrific experiences destroy her beauty and temperament. Cunégonde seems to represent the way the horrors of the world destroy innocence and beauty. As Candide’ perceives her, Cunégonde is a woman of endless virtue, innocence, contentment, and beauty. When Candide and Cunégonde are finally reunited at the end of the novel, the real Cunégonde, unable to live up to Candide’s expectations, comes as an inherent disappointment to Candide. In much the same way, the world has proved a disappointment to his once endless Optimism.

Cunégonde Timeline
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