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 MA's snubbing 
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Post MA's snubbing
As much as I sincerely love MA, one of the very few parts of her that strike me as less attractive is her habitual snubbing of different people at Versailles. Due to contradicting stories, I have started to wonder if she actually snubbed anyone at all. For example, many places say that she adopted peasant children and raised them as her own, whereas others say she viciously snubbed Madame du Barry because she was too common for Antoinette's taste, and that Antoinette felt du Barry was beneath her because she had previously been a prostitute... these two images of MA very much contradict each other. And I'm not just asking about du Barry, but about the others she reportedly snubbed, such as Rohan and Lamotte. Can anyone provide guidance for me in this regard?


Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:29 pm
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
There are two topics on this event already.

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1384


and here is the other one.

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=514

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Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:42 pm
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
Those are interesting threads, however, they're not really the information I'm seeking.


Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:30 am
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
Wesley, what information are you really seeking then? Please be definite. We discuss her disapproval of the du Barry and also her kindness to peasants and discuss her character on many occasions here. How does this not fit what you are looking for?

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Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:45 am
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
I think that Marie-Antoinette was kind to the "lesser" people that did not represent any threat towards her position as a queen and were modest and submissive. La du Barry, Rohan, the countess of Provence all were more or less nobles and had a high opinion of themselves. They wouldn't be grateful to the queen for they would merely think they'd get what they deserve, whereas it is easy to garner the affection of the people, at least, at first sight. Countess of Provence, for instance, once retorted arrogantly to the queen "I am not a queen, indeed, but I am of the wood they're made of", Rohan had no qualms about critizing Marie-Thérèse, which brought about the queen's resentment. By and large, nobles, especially the French ones, where both arrogant and phoney, which induces neither fondness not esteem. What is more, being benevolent to the poor reinforce your position, but if you're too kind to the nobilty, it is apt to display less respect.
I also think MA's demeanoour was fairly unwise, albeit understandable. She could did not fathom out the actual roots of her unpopularity until it was too late, for it first stemmed from the very nobles she snubbed, not from the people she was kind to. It is often said that only a forceful people are able to grant forgiveness, and I think it is quite true, that was one of MA's failure. Also, she did not know how to conceal her indifference and grant favours according to "merit".
What is more, one shouldn't also stretch the truth as regards to MA unselfishness and prodigality to the poor when she was in her 20s. She undeniably was kind-hearted and spontaneous, and thus, was prone to sympathize with people and help them on the spur of the moment. But at this period, she was also very careless and extravagant, so that she was far less generous financially speaking than previous queens. Even when she was a dauphine, Mercy had to lecture her about giving money for charity. As a queen, she once resorted to have people ask for money to her "gambling partners". As Bertière wittily put it "she had nothing to share with the poor, but her debts". It's also quite paradoxiacal about MA : for, at the end of the day, I think she had probably more genuinity than other people that gave more money to the poor, but, concretely, she hadn't been that generous for a long time.

I also think your question is very broad, and was more or less discussed. So here is just my opinion about the points you raised.

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Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:35 pm
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
Thank you very much Ludy for all of that great information. I'm sorry if it appears that I'm repeating a question that was already asked, but those two threads didn't really provide the information I was seeking and I can't really be expected to read every single thread from years back.


Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:52 pm
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
I agree with you - we cannot be expected to read every thread. Most of us do not have the time. In any event, I am going to try to add something to your question. Being a woman, I think myself qualified to speak to some aspects of a woman's behavior. First let me say that a crucial point here is that generally what a woman does and behaves like in her teens and twenties is a different story from what she behaves like after motherhood and a little maturity 30's-40's. That being said, Marie Antoinette came to Versailles at 14 years old. Her Mother's court lacked anything like open sexuality and common prostitutes. The Aunties of Louis XVI took her under their wing(s), and it was them who educated Marie Antoinette on how she should treat such people as DuBarry. The Aunties had a bone to pick with DuBarry because she was their father's mistress - therefore disliked by them. They just got Marie Antoinette to do their dirty work. She was very young, a teenager, and didn't know any better than to buy into this bit of snubbery. She did find the court of Versailles stuffy and without really meaning to offend anyone, she did. Sometimes young girls can and do behave with less thought than we would care to admit. There is probably not a woman alive who does not look back and say "Why did we do such silly things?" We can be snotty and haughty when we are young - Look at the way some of the young heiresses of today behave. Young, rich, beautiful, powerful, there is an attitude which sometimes accompanies these attributes. I think Marie Antoinette probably went through a phase in her younger years where she was less thoughtful of certain people than she should have been, but like any of us, she thought she had a valid reason to not acknowledge these people - in the same way you or I would not want to be bothered by someone we thought did us wrong.


Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:10 pm
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
Lilly wrote:
I agree with you - we cannot be expected to read every thread. Most of us do not have the time. In any event, I am going to try to add something to your question. Being a woman, I think myself qualified to speak to some aspects of a woman's behavior. First let me say that a crucial point here is that generally what a woman does and behaves like in her teens and twenties is a different story from what she behaves like after motherhood and a little maturity 30's-40's. That being said, Marie Antoinette came to Versailles at 14 years old. Her Mother's court lacked anything like open sexuality and common prostitutes. The Aunties of Louis XVI took her under their wing(s), and it was them who educated Marie Antoinette on how she should treat such people as DuBarry. The Aunties had a bone to pick with DuBarry because she was their father's mistress - therefore disliked by them. They just got Marie Antoinette to do their dirty work. She was very young, a teenager, and didn't know any better than to buy into this bit of snubbery. She did find the court of Versailles stuffy and without really meaning to offend anyone, she did. Sometimes young girls can and do behave with less thought than we would care to admit. There is probably not a woman alive who does not look back and say "Why did we do such silly things?" We can be snotty and haughty when we are young - Look at the way some of the young heiresses of today behave. Young, rich, beautiful, powerful, there is an attitude which sometimes accompanies these attributes. I think Marie Antoinette probably went through a phase in her younger years where she was less thoughtful of certain people than she should have been, but like any of us, she thought she had a valid reason to not acknowledge these people - in the same way you or I would not want to be bothered by someone we thought did us wrong.


Wow, thank you! I had never looked at it like that before, and had never realized that it was Louis XVI's aunts who had influenced Marie Antoinette to sink to such levels. While I still don't agree with what Antoinette did, at least I now understand it a lot better. You seem to have a tremendous insight about why people act the way they do, and are also very good at explaining it. I imagine that when her Aunt's-in-law were all telling her how horrible someone is, the pressure would be enough to make MA act against her good nature and not really give du Barry a chance. This is definitely a different image of MA from the one I had before, of her simply ignoring du Barry of her own accord because du Barry had been a prostitute and Antoinette felt she was "beneath" her. I hate to be a mouse with a cookie here, but do you by any chance have anymore insight regarding why MA might have snubbed Rohan and Lamotte?


Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:56 pm
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
Rohan may have been disliked by Marie Antoinette on account of her mother. Rohan had been appointed ambassador to Vienna in 1771 and it seems that Maria Theresa did not care for him much. He was supposed to be a man of the church but his behavior said different. Marie Antoinette considered Rohan "unprincipled and a dangerous intriguer" (Cronin pg.221). He had relatives who had conspired against the crown in prevoius reigns. The Rohans were an incredibly wealthy old French family. So I think that her distrust of him was enough of a reason to not want anything to do with him.
As far as LaMotte goes - she was probably just another one of those people (to Marie Antoinette) who were constantly wanting something - there must have been a ton of them - I don't think it was anything personal , they did not know each other. LaMotte was (obviously) a con artist.


Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:49 am
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
Wesley, I do recommend that you read up on Marie Antoinette. The Du Barry and the Rohan/Lamotte situation are well discussed in many reputable biographies. Try browsing the Literature forum for suggestions.

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Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:15 am
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
Can anyone tell me a good book to read about Marie in reference to her upbringing in the French court and how it changed her? I am writing a paper and I need to make connections to modern girls like Paris Hilton and such. Anything referencing that would be marvelous and helpful. Thank you!


Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:38 pm
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
This thread may help with your paper. We discuss her comparison to people like Paris Hilton. http://forum.marie-antoinette.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1283

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Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:48 am
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
I agree with the idea that MA only really snubbed people because she was young and she was being influenced by the Aunts. Who didn't snub at least one person when they were fourteen in order to better fit in with their group? This is a typical thing for people of any age and any era.
She was in a new place with new people and in order to ensure that she fit she probably felt it was best to agree with those she spent the most time with.


Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:03 pm
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
Marie Antoinette's snubbing can be broken down into two main areas in my opinion. When she arrived at Versailles she was a child and was basically told who to snub by those who she thought befriended her (Mesdames especially).

As she matured and grew into her royal status, her snubs were directed at those who disrespected or challengend Louis XVI. She was extremely loyal to Louis and demanded that others show him the same degree of respect. Antoinette also held grudges; once snubbed, forever snubbed.


Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:59 pm
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Post Re: MA's snubbing
I agree, Artois. Moreover, we should remember that she always had a high sense of her own dignity, which was also strenghtened by her position and education.

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Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:53 pm
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