What is the significance of Cunegonde's loss of beauty in Candide?
Cunegonde's loss of beauty is yet another proof that Pangloss's theory (from Leibniz)—that "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds"—is absurd.
Cunegonde loses her youthful beauty as a result of the trials and tortures she undergoes in what is supposedly a wonderful world and the best place ever. She is gang-raped, disembowelled, orphaned, left for dead, made a prostitute, enslaved, and displaced. These events leave her disfigured and exhausted; what is done to her is horrible—and so exaggeratedly over-the-top that we laugh as well as cry at her fate, as Voltaire intended.
It is also hardly what a young man dreams of when Candide finds his beloved in an ugly and embittered state. Candide sticks with Cunegonde despite her looks and comes to realize that it is better to withdraw from the world and...
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