Candide

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Candide Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After Candide finishes telling his story, Cunégonde tells Candide what has happened to her. When the attack on Thunder-ten-tronckh took place, she was asleep in bed. A Bulgarian soldier began raping her, and cut her on the left side when she resisted. While this was happening, the soldier's superior officer entered the room and killed him, not for raping Cunégonde, but for failing to properly salute. After that, the Bulgarian Captain took Cunégonde into captivity.
The soldier's lack of respect for his superior seems like a trivial crime in comparison with his brutal violation of Cunégonde. Nevertheless, the Captain kills the soldier merely for refusing to salute. Military hierarchy is made to look ridiculous. And Cunégonde continues to be abused by nearly every man she encounters
Themes
The Enlightenment and Social Criticism Theme Icon
Love and Women Theme Icon
The Bulgarian Captain sold Cunégonde to Don Issachar, a Jew, who took her to live in his country house—the very house where Cunégonde is telling this story to Candide. One day at mass, the Grand Inquisitor took a liking to Cunégonde, and attempted to bargain with Don Issachar for her. When he refused to trade her, the Inquisitor threatened him with an auto-da-fé. Eventually, they came to an agreement to share her.
The constant exchange of Cunégonde—which continues through the novel—underscores the treatment of women as property. The Inquisitor's threat of an auto-da-fé against Don Issachar is an example of the hypocrisy and abuse of power by church figures in the novel. The Grand Inquisitor is supposed to be a man who does not have sexual relations with women. Yet here he is threatening an official religious killing just to force Don Issachar to give him Cunégonde.
Themes
The Enlightenment and Social Criticism Theme Icon
Love and Women Theme Icon
On the day of the auto-da-fé, the Grand Inquisitor brought Cunégonde to watch. When she saw Pangloss executed and Candide whipped, she cried out in horror. Later, she arranged for the old woman to look for Candide and bring him to her. There, Cunégonde concludes her story, and just as she does, Don Issachar arrives.
Don Issachar's sudden arrival at the end of Cunégonde's story is an instance of something that happens often in Candide: a swift reversal after every success or reunion. This is one aspect of the novel’s comically fast pacing.
Themes
Optimism and Disillusion Theme Icon
The Enlightenment and Social Criticism Theme Icon
Love and Women Theme Icon