Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Like it or not, syphilis does indeed function as a symbol in Candide. You might have noticed lots of references to original sin. Right? Well, syphilis was doing a little European tour at the time Voltaire was writing Candide, and so, according to some scholars, Voltaire seems to be making a little religious analogy here: Syphilis, like original sin, spreads through sex.

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