The Characters Of Marie Antoinette And The French Revolution

1208 Words5 Pages
The French Revolution started 228 years ago by the Parisians to liberate themselves from the oppression posed by the despotic, authoritarian and ignorant French monarchy. At the center of the French monarchy, the Parisians wanted to remove not only Louis XVI but also his seemingly arrogant and snobby wife, Marie Antoinette. Often, Marie Antoinette is portrayed as a conservative, extravagant and lavish elite who is a symbol of the inequality and lopsided wealth distribution. Nevertheless, recent studies about Marie Antoinette rebuke her widely known image and shows that she was, in fact, a relatively virtuous queen who sought to mollify the daily circumstances of the impoverished farmers, a caring mother for her son and daughter and a courageous…show more content…
Thus, the currently accepted and taught image and personality of Marie Antoinette is a prejudiced one – a victim of not only family ambition and the French revolution but also of a wrongly accused notoriety.
While, Marie Antoinette, as a French queen, lacked substantial political power she still managed to live an active, modest and a charitable life. She is often wrongly accused of ignorance because of the infamous phrase, “Let them eat cake” which she apparently said to the starving people of France during a famine. To provide an expensive alternative to the people of France who could not even afford a loaf of bread was most certainly ignorant and to a certain extent, cruel. However, a renowned biographer Antonia Fraser argues in her book, Marie Antoinette: The Journey that this phrase is misattributed. According to Fraser, the phrase “Let them eat cake” actually originated from
…show more content…
Yet, her background as a French monarch and the overall discontent atmosphere of France before and during the French revolution led her to her death. She was a member of Habsburg royal family, and her marriage was supposed to represent the friendship between Austria and France. However, the two countries were enemies for a long time and her marriage alone was not enough to recover their relationship. Antoinette had to suffer the hate of the French citizens during her marriage and was often accused of being a spy for Austria. Moreover, the financial situation in France was already beginning to collapse when Antoinette arrived as a newlywed bride. After numerous wars and countless famines, the treasury was empty and the peasants grew increasingly hostile. Therefore, after the French revolution, the “Austrian” queen Antoinette was an easy target for people to show their anger with the previous ruling monarchs. It is wrong to view her death as a consequence of her
Open Document