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Allusion in Candide

Allusion Examples in Candide:

Chapter I

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"not only a gate, but windows..."   (Chapter I)

Highlighting the features of the Baron's castle emphasizes his status and, to a certain extent, the ridiculous standards by which wealth and prestige are measured in this society. Some critics suggest that Voltaire is also parodying the Emperor of Lilliput in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, who was a full thumbnail taller than his citizens.

"DRIVEN FROM terrestrial paradise..."   (Chapter II)

Voltaire draws a parallel between Westphalia and the Garden of Eden, a veritable "heaven on Earth" from which Adam and Eve were expelled ("driven") after Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

"This is the Last Day..."   (Chapter V)

The "Last Day" refers to the Last Judgement, or Judgement Day. In the Bible, Judgment Day is depicted as an apocalyptic event where the dead rise again and are reunited with their souls. It's believed that Christ will come with the angels and judge all the living and the dead. Candide's horror in this scene is a result of the devastation and not fear of Judgment (as an innocent young man, he's likely to go to Heaven).

"the grand Miserere to which they whipped you..."   (Chapter VIII)

Recall that Candide was whipped to the beat of a song, which is here revealed to be the Miserere, or Psalm 51 from the Bible. The Miserere is a song that begs God for forgiveness of sins and asks him to purify the sinner's body by any means necessary, including punishment like the one Candide receives.

"a German professor named Robek..."   (Chapter XII)

Johan Robeck, a Swedish-German philosopher who wrote an essay that legitimized suicide from a theological perspective. His primary argument was that life was a gift from God, and that, as a gift, we are free to dispense with it as we please. He himself committed suicide in 1739 by drowning himself in a river near Bremen, Germany, the allusion to which builds on the themes of death and religion in the book.

"to kill our neighbor..."   (Chapter XVI)

Voltaire deliberately inverts the Biblical commandment to "love thy neighbor." Instead, he posits that man's true nature is to feel concern only for one's own safety and to eliminate those who would stop him from prospering or injure him in any way. This recalls Thomas Hobbes' theory that life is "nasty, brutish, and short."

"as well as in everybody else..."   (Chapter XX)

An inversion of traditional Christian theology, which states that God is everywhere and in everything, including humans beings. This idea is expressed in Luke 17:21, "Behold, the kingdom of God is within you." Here, Martin says that the Devil is in everyone and everything, which underscores his dualist philosophy that evil is as prevalent as good.

"an Admiral..."   (Chapter XXIII)

A reference to Admiral George Byng, a great English officer who was executed on March 14, 1757, because he was found guilty of losing a battle to the French. This allusion is personal for Voltaire because he attempted to save the Admiral's life—to no avail—which for him demonstrates the senseless and brutal nature of life.

"but as for his pious Æneas, his strong Cloanthus, his friend Achates..."   (Chapter XXV)

These are all characters from Virgil's Æneid, an epic poem written in Latin in the 1st Century BCE. It is similar in style and content to The Iliad, Homer's epic poem, and follows the hero Æneas in his journey home from the Trojan War. Æneas travels to Carthage, Sicily, and the Underworld in his journey, mirroring Odysseus' journey home in The Odyssey.

"that Helen who is the cause of the war..."   (Chapter XXV)

Voltaire refers to Homer's The Iliad, in which Helen of Troy, the wife of Agamemnon, runs away with Paris, the Prince of Troy, sparking the Trojan War. This epic poem does, indeed, have an endless stream of battles, a pantheon of gods who prove feckless, and little to nothing to do with Helen herself, whose desires are written off as a feminine weakness.

"the rôle of Casar, or of Cato..."   (Chapter XXV)

A reference to Shakespeare's play Julius Caeser, in which the title character, Caesar, is betrayed by his friend, Brutus, who stabbed him in the Roman Senate with the help of the senators. Cato, the son of the great philosopher Marcus Cato, was a soldier in Brutus' army and plays a small part before dying in battle. His character was noble and heroic, and his death, like Caesar's, is considered a tragedy.

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