Marie Antoinette Online Forum

So why do you like her?
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Author:  Vive [ Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:05 pm ]
Post subject:  So why do you like her?

Scholars have tried to explain why Marie Antoinette has endured so long in the public eye. But on an individual scale: Why do you like Marie Antoinette? What about her makes you like her enough to research her and to post on a message board about her?

(Sorry if this question has been asked before but I did a cursory search and couldn't find anything. I thought it might be fun to discuss?)

Author:  Ludy [ Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: So why do you like her?

I have a love-hate relationship to Marie-Antoinette, and for that matter, I do have my ups and downs.

I do not approve of the monarchy as a a political regime even though I do agree that, in the end, most political regimes tend to be much of a muchness. I'd still rather have a regime that does not make inequality between people one of its basic tenets. Whatever the esteem Marie-Antoinette may be held in, her political role accounts for a great part of her life. In the end, she endeavoured to maintain a regime I disapprove of, at a time when many realized that the very doctrine the Ancien Regime was based on had become outdated and unfair.

Marie-Antoinette is inspirational to me nevertheless. She was a very charismatic person. She had a lot of qualities, marred by a fair share of shortcomings : both were clear-cut. I am very dubious with respect to a few of the qualities usually attributed to her, but she undeniably displayed rare integrity and courage throughout the tragedy that was her life.

Author:  Vive [ Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: So why do you like her?

I understand your sentiments entirely, Ludy. I myself am a little more moderate than you in that I would accede to a Constitutional Monarchy with proper limitations of the executive's power and proper sanctification of the rights of the "average man." But even this curtailment of authority was an anathema to Marie Antoinette. I am violently opposed to her political opinions.

...I am fond of her, however. Unfortunately, she would scorn my affection because it is akin to pity. I pity the human being who got caught in the whirlwind of Revolution, born and bred for a station that had become outdated. I like the woman but loathe the queen, if that makes any sense at all.

My introduction to her was different than a lot of yours, I think. I always had trouble understanding how she was a "maligned" queen since the first work I read of her, when I was about eleven or twelve, was sympathetic. No, seriously: the first thing I ever learned about the French Revolution was that Marie Antoinette didn't say "Let them eat cake." I didn't know what the French Revolution was, or even who Marie Antoinette was aside from something she didn't say. I think that made it difficult for me to identify with a woman who has allegedly been scorned by history because, well, when I first "met" her, so to speak, she seemed to be beloved.

Flash forward a few years when I had started to research the French Revolution. I read Antonia Fraser's The Journey and while in retrospect I've become almost violently hostile to Fraser's arguments, this was definitely the book that made me sympathize. It drew out the propaganda mill, what motivated it, and - most importantly, considering my aforementioned introduction - you know, sorta proved that there was a propaganda mill. Something obvious to everyone else in the world, but considering I hadn't been researching the queen at all before that point, forgive me for the epiphany. Anyway, that propaganda campaign is what made me sympathize with her - if only because it mirrored the campaigns against some of my favorite revolutionaries. Once I found something she had in common with some of my other zealously researched historical figures, I had a launching pad and was able to research from there.

I don't know if what I wrote made sense. But I can't really explain why I like her. I do. Sometimes. Sometimes I really really dislike her- as you said, Ludy, it's a love/hate sorta deal.

Author:  Ludy [ Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: So why do you like her?

Admittedly, a consitutional monarchy is another kettle of fish. My answer concerned exclusively the Ancien Regime in France. For the sake of clarity, I was trying to keep my answer as pithy as possible.)

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