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The French Revolution took place between 1989 and 1799. This was the most radical event in the country’s history. France had remained under the absolute monarch for very long but the revolution led to its collapse within less than four years.
During the period, the country’s society and political structure transformed to what would become the new era of European enlightenment. Different movies have tried to cover the historical event from different perspectives. One of these movies is Marie Antoinette. This discussion analyzes the differences between the movie and five other sources in their portrayal of the French Revolution.
Marie Antoinette and the Actual Historic Event
The movie by the name Marie Antoinette tells the story of the Austrian-born queen and the events leading to the collapse of the monarchy in France. The movie begins by introducing the queen after she gets married to Louis-Auguste. After the marriage she became the Dauphine and later assumed the role of the queen after her husband became the King of France.
However, according to the film, Austria was an enemy of France. At the time she was the Queen, Marie was seen to harbor care and sympathy for the nations believed to be enemies of France. This made the citizens mad and accused her as promiscuous and profligate.
The film also highlights the events of the Diamond Necklace, an incident that ruined the reputation of the new queen despite the fact that she was innocent. The worst decision by the King was to move the royal family to another city. The idea changed the opinion of the people thereby leading to the bloodiest revolution in the country’s history.
Although the movie does not present most of the events of the revolution, it informs the audience about the abolishment of the monarchy in the 1790s by the citizens. Following the abolishment of leadership, the royal family faced the hardest moment and later imprisoned. The execution of the king represented the end of the monarchy. The queen was executed in 1793 using the guillotine, nicknamed the French Razor.
This movie is one of the best sources of information about the revolution and the beginning of enlightenment in France and the whole of Europe. The movie informs the audience about her betrothal and subsequent marriage to the King Louis XVI at a tender age of 15. It was after she became the queen of the country at the age of 19 when things began to change and eventually resulting in the end of her leadership as the queen. The events resulted in the fall and collapse of Versailles and eventually the revolution.
One thing about this movie is that it tries to concentrate of the life of Marie Antoinette as the best approach to inform the audience about the revolution. However, some other articles and sources tell the story from a different angle. Historians describe the revolution as the most radical event that changed the way the governance of the country.
For many years, France was under absolute monarchy. This affected the rights and stability of the people. A few years before the revolution, France faced a severe drought and food supplies were minimal. It had created enemies with certain countries including Austria. Since Marie was from the same country, she developed sympathies for the country thereby making the people angry.
The people were tired of the system of governance and wanted a sudden transformation. The revolution led to the development of new ideas. Different sources indicate that the citizens wanted to be free and have their rights given.
The only way to achieve this was through a revolution. The groups against the events were executed for betrayal or treason. Throughout the revolution period, the country faced enormous tensions between the liberal movements and the monarchy that had remained conservative for years.
The people wanted to have major reforms and changes in the country and change the nature of governance in the country. Following the events of the bloodiest revolution in the world’s history, France was proclaimed from the King after his execution in 1792. It is therefore notable that the movie manages to present useful information about the French Revolution by focusing mainly on the life of Marie Antoinette.
The movie explores the events of the French Revolution through the life of the ill-fated queen. This means that most of the information and events of the revolution in the movie are similar to what other sources indicate and discuss about the revolution. The marriage of an Austrian girl by King Louis was one of the fueling factors to the revolution.
The people had lost their patience and trust with the absolute monarchy because it sympathized with its enemies including Austria. This led to the French revolution as the people tried to fight for freedom, stability and their rights. The revolution influenced similar ideas throughout Europe thereby resulting in enlightenment.
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Aftalion, Florin. The French Revolution: An Economic Interpretation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Hanson, Paul. Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Johnston, Richard. The French Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Marie Antoinett, directed by Coppola Sofia. Prod. Kirsten Dunst. (Paramount Pictures, 2006).
Stewart, Matt. The French Revolution: A Novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
- Paul Hanson. Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 36.
- Florin Aftalion. The French Revolution: An Economic Interpretation. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 72.
- Matt Stewart. The French Revolution: A Novel. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 65.
- Richard Johnston. The French Revolution. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 12.
- Richard Johnston. The French Revolution., 32.
- Ibid., 43.