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Don Isaachar

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Cunégonde's Jewish owner, Don Isaachar, functions as a symbol for all the prejudice we see in Candide. Isaachar, in particular, is a target for anti-Semitism, portrayed stereotypically as wealthy, greedy, and morally depraved. Like other religious figures, such as the Inquisitor and the Abbé, Voltaire depicts Isaachar as self-serving and unkind. While Voltaire singles out and criticizes a number of religions, notably Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in Candide, his standpoint is more generally a rejection of religious factionalism and violence than of any one religion in particular. It’s also possible that, in portraying negative stereotypes of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Voltaire satirizes prejudice itself.

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