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Quotes

Quote #4

"I was in bed and fast asleep when it pleased God to send the Bulgarians to our delightful castle of Thunder-ten-Tronckh; they slew my father and brother, and cut my mother in pieces. A tall Bulgarian, six feet high, perceiving that I had fainted away at this sight, began to ravish me; this made me recover; I regained my senses, I cried, I struggled, I bit, I scratched, I wanted to tear out the tall Bulgarian's eyes--not knowing that what happened at my father's house was the usual practice of war. The brute gave me a cut in the left side with his hanger, and the mark is still upon me." (8.1)

Cunégonde personifies the absurdity of public tolerance for war by dismissing her attack as a necessary consequence of warfare.

Quote #5

"A Bulgarian captain came in, saw me all bleeding, and the soldier not in the least disconcerted. The captain flew into a passion at the disrespectful behavior of the brute, and slew him on my body. He ordered my wounds to be dressed, and took me to his quarters as a prisoner of war." (8.2)

Cunégonde’s capture and enslavement exemplifies the undue brutality of war.

Quote #6

Scarcely had the Janissaries finished the repast with which we had furnished them, than the Russians came in flat-bottomed boats; not a Janissary escaped. The Russians paid no attention to the condition we were in. There are French surgeons in all parts of the world; one of them who were very clever took us under his care--he cured us; and as long as I live I shall remember that as soon as my wounds were healed he made proposals to me. He bid us all be of good cheer, telling us that the like had happened in many sieges, and that it was according to the laws of war. (12.17)

The French surgeon’s assertion that cannibalism is an ordinary practice of warfare implies the uncivilized nature of human conflict.

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