3 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2018
    1. he met a beggar all covered with scabs, his eyes diseased, the end of his nose eaten away, his mouth distorted, his teeth black, choking in his throat, tormented with a violent cough, and spitting out a tooth at each effort

      A little bit later on in the book we will discover that Pangloss contracted the STD Syphilis from the lady in waiting for Cunegonde. He goes into the entire genealogy about how the maid contracted her disease from a long tree of misfortunate souls. The only problem? None of the listed symptoms in the book are actual symptoms of Syphilis. According to the Center for Disease Control “ Syphilis has been called ‘The Great Pretender’, as its symptoms can look like many other diseases. However, syphilis typically follows a progression of stages that can last for weeks, months, or even years” (CDC, 2017). According to the CDC, Syphilis has three main stages that it can show up as. During the Primary stage one or more chancres appear on the site of initial infection, they are painless and usually heal over with or without treatment. If not treated the infection will move onto the Secondary stage in which the areas affected by Syphilis will become inflamed and agitated with rashes. The rashes will also go away but if not treated the disease may move onto the third stage. The third stage’s symptoms can vary depending on the organ it affects but the most infamous symptom are the degradation of mental faculties which may ultimately lead to death if not treated. Needless to say, even after looking up several more sources, tooth loss and necrotic skin conditions were not listed as any symptoms. “Syphilis - CDC Fact Sheet.” CDC, 13 Feb., 2017, []https://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-syphilis-detailed.htm.!

    2. The extremities of famine to which they were reduced, obliged them to eat our two eunuchs, for fear of violating their oath. And at the end of a few days they resolved also to devour the women

      One of the more interesting, and arguably barbaric, practices of early history was the practice of castration on those who served under rich masters or the church. Eunuchs were castrated males who “were employed in the Middle East and in China in two main functions: as guards and servants in harems or other women’s quarters, and as chamberlains to kings” (Encyclopedia Britanica, 2018). It was common for many nobles and kings to keep large harems of beautiful women, and of course those women would need watching over to keep them in line. But the nobleman could not possibly trust a normal man with the task. Thus boys, usually poor and at a young age, were castrated in order to keep their more human sins in order while they looked after the harem. Catholics would also castrate boys at a young age to suppress puberty and keep their voices from deepening. https://www.britannica.com/topic/eunuch

    3. This present Paquette received of a learned Grey Friar, who had traced it to its source; he had had it of an old countess, who had received it from a cavalry captain, who owed it to a marchioness, who took it from a page, who had received it from a Jesuit, who when a novice had it in a direct line from one of the companions of Christopher Columbus.

      What lead Pangloss to believe that he had gotten the dreaded disease in the first place? Well the context clue comes from Christopher Columbus. There are several theories to the origin of Syphilis. Some claim it had always been around and was simply mistaken for others. Some claim that there is a possibility that it had been spread through other means than Columbus, but the more popular idea was “that the navigators in Columbus fleet would have brought the affliction on their return form the New World in 1493” (Tampa et al., 2014). The other theories do have their evidences, most being the possibility of Pre-Columbian fossils with lesions similar to Syphilis, but “the American continent was able to present clear evidences supporting the existence of syphilis in pre-Columbian period” (Tampa et al., 2014). In this case we see that Pangloss once again is attempting to find a reason behind the things happening to him, but is still missing the true mark. Whether this is intentional on Voltaire’s part or a simple mistake, as the symptoms of Syphilis were fairly easy to mistake for another disease, is unknown. Tampa, M et al. “Brief History of Syphilis.” Journal of Medicine and Life 7.1 (2014): 4–10. Print.