Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette, officially known as Marie-Antoinette-Josephe-Jeanne d’Autriche-Lorraine, was the last queen of France before the French Revolution took place. She lived a luxurious lifestyle and was one of the people who provoked the revolution. This was due to her extravagant lifestyle, apparent ignorance of the commoners’ poor situation, and of a scandal involving an expensive necklace, which caused the public to lose trust in the monarchy. Soon,  the ball of hatred, distrust, and resentment for the monarchy led Marie and her husband Louis XVI to the executioner’s block. As Marie Antoinette ascended the stairs to the guillotine, she accidentally stepped on the executioner’s foot, saying to him “Pardon me sir, I meant not to do it.”

Apologizing for stepping on the foot of the man who is about to behead you and who probably didn’t care that you stepped on him in the first place seems ironic to me. However inconsiderate she might have been to France as a whole, her upbringing instilled within her the courtesy of apologizing for her (minor) mistakes. As one of the primary representatives (and a popular fashion icon) for the country, Marie Antoinette was viewed by a majority of the public as a stereotypically shallow and uncaring ruler. Hence the revolution. Although convicted and executed for treason of the people, what really went on in the mind and what the intentions of the fashionable ruler were may never be known.

4 thoughts on “Marie Antoinette

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  3. Erin Glocke

    This is, once again, a really fascinating subject and I think that Marie Antoinette’s final words are very fitting to what I’ve learned about her. Though the other famous “let them eat cake” quote is apparently wrongfully attributed to her, it does reflect her rather flippant attitude. I also think it’s interesting that like you said, while she apparently cared so little for other people that she would apologize for something so trivial at such a critical time. I think it showed that she was really kind of over the fact that she was being executed. She was Marie Antoinette, she basically did what she wanted and did not particularly care what anyone thought of her. At the same time, she was a very proper woman who would have of course been raised to apologize for stepping on another person’s foot. Considering the context and her history, her last quote is a pretty accurate representative of who she was during her life.

  4. Jason Brown

    Seems to me as a person who knew what was coming to her. That seems like the most melancholy response that someone can offer at the time in question.

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