Misrepresentation and Her Effects on the French Revolution
While Marie Antoinette may have inspired hatred and disgust in the monarchy by the French people, the drastic misconceptions surrounding her involvement in sparking the French Revolution are endless. The public used her as a scapegoat to blame all of their problems on. In reality, she did very little of what she was accused. Economic problems and bad politics are actually greatly responsible for the rise of the French people. However, despite her innocence, public opinion and doubt in the monarchy only exacerbated the situation. Widespread public opinion of Marie Antoinette leads one to believe many a falsehood about her life as the Queen of France. She often remembered as a selfish tyrant that did not care if her country starved. The infamous line “let them eat cake” is probably the biggest misconception about Marie Antoinette. Not only was this one mocking sentence never spoken by Marie Antoinette, but it likely derived from vicious propaganda from illegally distributed pamphlets.
Her arranged marriage to the Dauphin, Louis XVI of France was but a political strategy to solidify an Austro-French alliance. Upon her first arrival in France, she was treated as “youthful goddess of beauty and virtue.” The press referred to her as a celestial being, not able to sing her praises enough it would seem. By the time
Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were married in 1774, the official press no longer had any further interest in her at all. There was little opportunity for the public to forge an actual opinion of her since she was kept at the palaces most of the time. Enemies within the palace only served to create and fuel rumors. Marie Antoinette frequently ignored court etiquette and would choose dance partners that were not from the oldest families. She was accused by those anxious to become part of her circle of only liking young people and disregarding all the rules of politeness.
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