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 The Allure of The Tragic 
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Post The Allure of The Tragic
Hello everyone.
I was examining my fascination with Marie Antoinette and I wondered if part of the allure did not have something to do with the allure of the tragic itself. Am I correct in supposing that we are fascinated with such figures as Marie, the Princesse de Lamballe, Cleopatra, and the Romanovs due to their horrible endings? What would they be to us if they had lived out their years without the horror? Of course, we would still be interested in them, but to what extent? In the cases of Marie, Lamballe and Cleopatra, is it not their heroism and courage in the face of utter defeat that beguiles us? I had to face this. Like Plato suggested, can there be courage without fear? In any case, they are fabulous with or without their most unfortunate endings and I do not like to be morbid, but I was wondering about this and would like to know what you all think. Thanks,
Ray

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Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:30 am
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
wow. thats a fantastic idea. it really made me think. and i agree, i think many people are interested in someone by how they live their lives. after all, arent we all different people in those final moments?

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Fri Aug 08, 2008 8:03 pm
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
I am morbid since the most of my favorite history characters (or from some novel) had the tragic ending. I have always felt the sympathy for people who were unadjusted or different, who have showed the true dignity facing the terrible situation. Maybe because I have felt unadjusted for so many times in life, I developed some kind of skill to understand the same sort of people. I am rarely judgmental. For example, I was always defending Ana Karenina from the Tolstoy’s novel. I have felt on my own skin how people can be narrow minded and judgmental so I have promised myself that I will always be the layer, never the judge! :idea:

Still the tragedy in the end is not something that can truly bring you to the life of some person. Many history characters showed their heroism and intelligence by doing something significant, by making smart decisions that, by the way, helped them to avoid the tragic end (Elisabeth I, Katharine the Great, Octavian August…). Those people are usually more worth admiring. Often, heroic death can redeem the whole life that was not heroic at all.

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Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:51 pm
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
Oh, i know what you mean exactly. i adore elizabeth I as much as i do Marie antoinette. it sadens me to see how people are fasinated by the end then learning about the whole......know what i mean?

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Sat Aug 09, 2008 5:04 am
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
Yes, I do know what you mean. there are some people who would only care about Marie Antoinette because of the tragic end.Who knows what sort wonderful change she may have made if she had lived. I think she would have been a different heroic figure if she had escaped at Varennes. Or been restored to the thrown in a parliamentary government. She was destined to be great no matter what how the end played out. Too bad her bravest and most heroic moments had to come the way they did.

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Sat Aug 09, 2008 6:42 am
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
It is hard to imagine what would have happened with her life if she managed to escape.
Too bad that didn’t happened.:(

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Sat Aug 09, 2008 10:46 pm
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
Thank you all so much for your thoughtful input. I, too, feel that had Marie lived she would have softened the court and transformed it into a more loving atmosphere. She could quite possibly have ushered in a new age of compassion and reduced the artificiality of the court. Of course, others might argue that it was her lax attitude toward French protocol that allowed her enemies to devour her. The elaborate protocol at the French court was designed to keep the aristocrats in line and relaxing this, on the part of a monarch, simply opened a Pandora's box. "Give them an inch and..." She herself was quite real, having been reared in the comparatively free and easy Hapsburg court. This is demonstrated by how she preferred to spend time with her children rather than merely delegating their upbringing to others. She is a fascinating lady, no doubt. By posing this question, I certainly did not intend to discredit her worth as a queen or historical entity. I just love the truth and had to examine 'the dark side' of our psyches. I hope everyone understands the sincere spirit in which the question was posed. One thing, however. Octavious (I will not use the term Augustus) was not worthy of any respect, much less admiration, unless one respects and admires the sneaky, the cowardly and the criminal for their abilities to achieve their ends, regardless of the ignoble means. God Bless Livia for poisoning the little slithery usurper...
(Oops! I am not opinionated, am I?)

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Edmund Burke, (1790)


Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:05 am
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
Ray wrote:
One thing, however. Octavious (I will not use the term Augustus) was not worthy of any respect, much less admiration, unless one respects and admires the sneaky, the cowardly and the criminal for their abilities to achieve their ends, regardless of the ignoble means. God Bless Livia for poisoning the little slithery usurper...

He did a lot for Rome. His reign ended bloody civil wars. His personality is a different thing, we can't deny his abilities as a ruler (although people are always referring to his smart choice of assistants). His reign recuperated Rome.

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Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:07 pm
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
As Simone Bertière states it, Marie Antoinette is the perfect character for a tragedy : not utterly good, not utterly bad, who meets terrible miseries partly due to his/her behaviour and partly due to circumstances. It's very easy to see a sort destiny in MA's story, as if she was, in a way doomed : the fact, for instance, that she was not to marry Louis Auguste until one of her sisters' death. It is also the case for Mary Stuart, or the Romanov, whose life stories are with time embroidered with myths and legends.

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Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:24 pm
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
I so do wish that these wonderful French works are translated....Bertiere's, Delorme and Thomas. Yet they translate Mme. Lever? Why? :roll:

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Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:55 pm
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
I think this is part of the appeal of the Revolution as a whole. It had beautiful ideals, but it collapsed under the pressure of circumstances (ideological, military, economic, social, personal, etc) that grew beyond anyone's control. And so many fascinating people's lives were caught up, and destroyed, by it on all sides. It's like a Greek tragedy. Marie Antoinette certainly figures as one of the most tragic characters because no one fell further than her, but she maintained her dignity to the end.


Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:42 pm
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
Very well said. I do like your avatar, dear! Whoever is it?

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Wed Aug 13, 2008 12:23 am
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
My avatar is my favorite lady from the French Revolution, Lucile Desmoulins.


Wed Aug 13, 2008 1:16 am
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
Good Day to All,

Fine, I see your point about Octavius. Anyway, regarding the notion that Marie's life had all of the qualities of predestined doom, there was a big Earthquake on the day of her birth and I think there was a fireworks disaster during the public celebrations marking her marriage to Louis that resulted in the deaths of many people. I am not sure, but I think that I read that she and Louis donated a year's income to the families of those killed by the fireworks. Am I right or did they do that for some other people? I also agree with Delicate Fleur that shoutoutloud's avatar is very nice. Who was Lucille Desmoulins, if you don't mind me asking? She looks absolutely lovely, like Delicate Fleur's. Anyway, thank you all for contributing and I wish everyone a thoroughly enjoyable day!

Ray

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"...little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her...I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult."
Edmund Burke, (1790)


Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:11 am
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Post Re: The Allure of The Tragic
Why thank you.

Lucile Desmoulins (née Duplessis) was the wife of Camille Desmoulins, the man who jumped up on a table on July 12, 1789 and made the call to arms that sparked the fall of the Bastille. Camille went on become an extremely important radical journalist. Their personal lives were quite interesting, as their lives intersected with just about every important person of the Revolution (Camille was childhood friends with Robespierre, who was the godfather to their son, and close friends with Danton, to give the most famous examples. Lucile was always getting hit on by Danton. And she liked it. Flirt.) During the Terror, however, Camille began to call for moderation and clemency, was swept up in the Dantonist trial, and executed (to give a very concise version of it). Lucile was implicated in a probably made up conspiracy to rescue her husband and the other Dantonists, which served as the excuse to execute them, but of course then she had to be arrested and was executed two weeks later. Camille and Lucile are definitely the great tragic love story on the revolutionary side of things. She kept a diary and wrote letters during the Revolution that are an interesting look into the personal lives of the group of friends that essentially made up the Dantonists. Although she has been highly idealized by a bunch of 19th century historians into this angelic wife and mother, after reading her diary I discovered that she was a lot more fun than those Victorian biographers let on. :wink:


Wed Aug 13, 2008 4:08 am
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