Marie Antoinette


Marie Antoinette Essay, Research Paper

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette was the most beautiful, of sixteen children, born to Francis I, and Maria Theresa, empress of Austria. Maria Antonia arrived on November second 1765 in Vienna Austria. As a child she was brought up believing that she was destined to become the queen of France and even became known as the Dauphine. As told by Carolly Erickson Maria Antonia, soon to be known as Marie Antoinette, was one of the most misunderstood monarchs of her time. Marie had three faults in her life, but none as cruel as the people of France behaved towards her. When King Louis XVI (House of Bourbon) was crowned Marie Antoinette was sent to be married to him. It was believed that this marriage would secure ties between France and Austria. At the age of fourteen Marie was sent to be a bride to the fifteen-year-old king.

The French people were not happy with the idea of an Austrian Queen. Innocently Marie Antoinette loved those who were close to her, mainly her Austrian friends. The French people noticed her kindness towards her friends and from then on decided to use her as a scapegoat for the problems of France. France at the time was very supportive of their nobles and placed all of their attention them. The lower class however, put all their attention watching was placed upon their king. For seven years, the King of France had no children the public blamed Marie for being barren. They had no knowledge of the fact that the king was impotent, due to the king’s wishes that it remain a secret. The king realized how the blame was placed on Marie and having pity began lavishing her with jewels and money encouraging her to go out.

Marie began to enjoy the rich life. She began rebelling against the French people and their way of life. She dressed provocatively and gambled freely. She began encouraging her husband to go to bed early so she could go out. As Marie began going out more she became the cause for many rumors. Those that did not like her, now felt that they had reason to hate her. They began creating pamphlets and pornographic songs about her. They used her to show their anger with the government and it’s way of ruling.

The rumors that began to form eventually led to the downfall of an innocent woman. Marie Atoinette’s whole wrong in life was that she was unable to mature at such an early age. The king became diagnosed with a physical condition known as phymosis, this meant that he could undergo surgery and would probably then be able to have children. Due to the success of the surgery Louis and Marie bore two children, a girl and a boy. After the birth of their children Marie began to mature. She began to dress conservatively to try and demonstrate that she had learned her lesson and she wanted to show she was ready to become a good queen. Marie had Louis construct a little cottage called “hamlet” beside the Petit Trainion. It was designed to look natural. Marie tried to dress like a milk girl and pretended to act like a lower class worker to show that she understood the lower class. Some of the people respected this and others still could not forgive her for her frivolous past. By the time Marie’s children had arrived it was too late to save her reputation. Her battle was in essence already lost.

The most famous of scandal’s said to take place was that of the “diamond necklace”. According to Carolly Erickson, in the book To the Scaffold Marie Antoinette, the scandal was made up as a way to further show the hate for the French queen and eventually bring her to an end. On the other side J. Huissman in the book Marie Antoinette, believes that she brought herself to her own fate. She believes that Marie deserved the titles of “the Austrian Whore” and “Mme Deficit”, for the countless men she entertained and the money she spent that she did not have to spend. J. Huissman believes that Marie herself confesses to living a despicable life. Erickson suggests that although Marie may have admitted to living a despicable life there was no evidence that she actually had taken place in such affairs.

One of the most famous scandals “the diamond necklace” occurred with a con-artist and Cardinal Rohen. The cardinal was looking to improve his reputation and Mme. La Motte offered to help. Unfortunately Mme. La Motte was a con-artist. She hired someone to look like Marie Antoinette and meet with the cardinal. The cardinal believed he had actually met with Marie at the palace of Versailles and it was her that gave him a rose. Mme. La Motte then told the cardinal that Marie wanted him to buy her a diamond necklace and she would repay him. Mme La Motte took the necklace and fled with her husband. She was captured and flogged publicly, when she escaped she spread malicious rumors about the queen.

As the rumors remained a subject of interest among the lower class, the king and queen were brought aware of the American Revolution. It began in 1755 and the French offered their support. Marie however sensed the danger and knew that the revolution would hit France too. In 1789 The French revolution arrived. On October 5th a mob of Parisian women, actually men dressed as women, marched on Versailles shouting for the queen’s blood. They assumed that if they were dressed as women then they would not be fired on. “A quality that Marie had learnt from her mother was not to fear death”. The Queen showed great courage as she stepped out onto the balcony by herself. The people were amazed at her actions and decided that was good enough to let her live. This spared their lives for a little while longer.

In 1970 a mob descended on the palace of Versailles and demanded that the royal family move to the “tuilerie palace inside Paris”. Antoinette sought aid from her brother the Austrian emperor and her sister the queen of Naples. Louis and her actually encouraged the revolution. When Austria and Prussia declared war on France they were accused of treason. M. Layfette was a well liked general for the American Revolution who changed Marie’s opinion of him when he planned their escape. The plan was that Marie and Louis would travel together in a small coach and the kids would travel a few days later. Marie refused to leave her children, as a result, the large coach was spotted easily and they were brought back to prison.

In December of 1797 Louis was put on trial where he was found guilty of treason and was sentenced to the guillotine on Jan. 21 1793. After the death of Louis XVI, his brother declared the son of Louis XVII king. Marie Antoinette although in prison acknowledged that her son was king. The guards resented this and had them separated. In 1792 the institution of royalty was officially abolished. In October of 1793 Marie was taken to court and told that she mislead Louis into treachery. She was appointed council, who had less than two days to prepare for the trial. When accusations were thrown at her, she said little accept for when they accused her of incest with her son. She made a plea to the conscience and feelings of every mother present. She won over the crowd, but the court had dozens of witness’s who gave hearsay evidence and blackened Antoinette’s character. Marie also was sentenced to the guillotine on October 16th. Both her daughter and her son died while in captivity putting an end to the house of Bourbon.

Marie Antoinette had three major faults in her life. She married young and lacked maturity, therefore led a frivolous lifestyle, causing the French to dislike her. When she matured she saw the problems in France. She sent for help from outside of the country, causing the French to distrust her, hence her second fault. Her third mistake was that she loved her children too much leave them causing their coach to be noticed immediately, and therefore causing the capture of her family. As the country needed someone to blame for it’s outrage they chose the Austrian(the outsider), and turned against her causing her death. Marie was nothing but a growing woman trying to assist in ruling a country. She shows love and compassion, for her country, her husband, and her children.


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