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The old woman's story of her father, Pope Urban X, and the life of wealth she lived as a child shows the corruption of the Catholic clergy. Finally, the conversation Candide and Cacambo had with the old man in Eldorado shows the benefits of a simple religion, a contrast of the European religions of the time.
In Voltaire's novel, Candide, the three themes that stand out in the old woman's tale for me are:. one cannot depend that things will always stay the same: being rich and famous one day does not.
The Old Woman experienced many different miseries throughout her life. She was raped, forced into slavery, lost her fiance, and lived through a brutal wartime. All of these experiences made her see the world very differently than the relatively inexperienced Candide.
It was altogether natural to imagine, that after undergoing so many disasters, Candide, married to his mistress and living with the philosopher Pangloss, the philosopher Martin, the prudent Cacambo, and the old woman, having besides brought home so many diamonds from the country of the ancient Incas, would lead the most agreeable life in the world.
Voltaire exhibits his belief that life experiences help to gain knowledge through the old woman and her story. In chapters 11 and 12, the old woman explains to Candide and Cunegonde the horrors that she has experienced in her life. Her story helps to shape Candide’s view of life, and helps persuade him to change his way of thinking.
On the other hand, Francois Marie Arouet’s play Candide presents women as no more than sexual equipment designated for men to satisfy their sexual desires. They are sites from which men please their souls. The main women characters namely Cunegonde, Paquette and the old woman, have a rape story to tell out of the experience. They are slaves.