What is the old woman's story in Candide?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Candide first meets the old woman at the end of chapter 6. The two are in Lisbon, where there has been a devastating earthquake. The city and church leaders decide that God must be punishing them and that an auto de fe, or act of faith, is required for atonement. This consists of being flogged in time to music, of burning people at the stake, and other "cleansing" acts. As he is being flogged, Candide sees the old woman, who gestures for him to follow her. She takes him to her shelter, cleans and dresses his wounds, and cares for him.

In chapter 11, Candide learns that the woman is the illegitimate daughter of Pope Urban X and a princess of Palestina. When she was young, she was very beautiful, and she was betrothed to the prince of Massa-Carrarra. Unfortunately, just before the wedding could take place, the prince was poisoned by his jealous mistress. The old woman's mother decided to take her daughter to one of their estates, but on the way there, their ship was attacked by pirates. She had many misadventures and troubles in her life before ending up in Lisbon.

mimi94 | Student

The old womans story was on her childhood and about all the unfortunate events that ocurred to her. She started by talking about her birth etc., she later talked about the adventures she had in North Africa and how she was treated. Eventually she talked about how she ended up as a servant with one buttock.