Romantic Love In Voltaire's Candide

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In the novel Candide or Optimism, Voltaire sarcastically ridicules life and love, but while he criticizes the religious and philosophical leaders of his time, the Frenchman overemphasizes and makes fun of the idea of romance. Through the characters Candide and the breathtaking Miss Cunogonde, he gives very different outlooks on the concept of intimacy and admiration. In the dramatic quest to marry the irresistible Miss Cunogonde, Voltaire effortlessly uses satire and various characters to display the diverse concept of romantic love.
Through the use of dramatic stereotyping between the initial encounter between Miss Cunogonde and Candide, Voltaire starts the development of Candide’s naïve view of love. In the first chapter, they are both the
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Candide, in the beginning, glorifies the beauty of the royal heiress and devotes his life to making her his wife. The aristocratic family also opposes the marriage of the two young kids, and Miss Cunogonde does not seem to be enthusiastic about the idea of being married to the young boy. However, after being reunited with the love of his life, Candide describes her as being unaware of her grotesque appearance; “she reminded Candide of his promises in so firm a tone that the good Candide did not dare refuse her”(Voltaire 410). Candide is shocked by her appearance and describes her as growing more hideous day by day through the lines “ her eyes bloodshot, her breasts fallen, her cheeks and her arms red and scaly (Voltaire 410). Even though she is considered as less than attractive to Candide, Voltaire’s use of irony in the situation is drastic because, in the beginning, Miss Cunogonde is not eager to be married to Candide. After she has lost everything in her royal lifestyle, she seems to be desperate for the love and marriage to the “seventy-one quarterings” gentleman (Voltaire 355). Eventually, Candide does marry Miss Cunogonde, but only in spite of her brother who still insists that his sister will never marry outside of

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