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Candide

Candide

by Voltaire

Analysis: Steaminess Rating

Exactly how steamy is this story?

Rated R for repeated instances of sexual violence, nudity, and loose French women.

Sex, not surprisingly, is subject to Voltaire’s assault in Candide. For the most part, Voltaire mentions sex only in the context of sexual exploitation and violence. Voltaire also throws in a few instances of pure comedy. For example, the Old Woman is lacking a buttock because, while working as a prostitute in a harem, some hungry guards chopped it off and ate it. Taken seriously, this would be tragic indeed, but it is precisely because of its exaggerated nature that Voltaire is able to present this as humorous instead of sad. Example number two: the Marchioness knows how to work it. Clearly ignoring the no-sex-on-the-first-date rule, she digs in to our protagonist in order to get his money.

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