Fear, the Terrible Manipulator

The historical fiction “The Bad Queen” written by Carolyn Meyer talked about the last queen of France, Marie Antoinette in another perspective. It allowed viewing all of the characters during the French Revolution clearly and dramatically changed how I viewed the queen. The book mainly talks about things before the Revolution. It talks about Marie learning France as a Kingdom. Learning its history, culture, and language.

The theme of The Bad Queen is “fear can be a terrible manipulator.” The main character, Marie Antoinette had her soul controlled by her feelings. It is very true for the human brain to be distorted by power. In the story, she was the princess of Austria, since the kingdom had 15 other children waiting in for the throne, she, as one of the youngest ones got ignored. Her life changed when Austria and France decided to have a marriage. She got respect from everyone, her mother, siblings. It also shows her feelings, loneliness, feeling like a tool, sacrificing her love for her family. It teaches us a lesson, both historical and life. When she first entered France, she was a pure girl, 16 years old. She was frightened when she saw how the French court functioned, “To be truthful, I was frightened. I wished, certainly not for the first time, that I had received some practical instruction of France.” (Meyer, 84) She said that when she saw how the French people dressed for ceremonial events and how they treated newcomers. After seeing how the French people respond to events, she locked herself in her room crying for a short period of time, it is different from her home. When they got married, young Prince Louis did not sleep in the same bed with Marie. Marie worried again, she ended up sobbing in her room when she realized that Louis went hunting instead of being with her. Fortunately, love was established when Marie made some concessions, she learned how to ride and followed Louis in hunting. They began to sleep together, “our bodies became one at last.” (214) Fear slowed down the development of love between Marie and Louis. If both of them were bolder, they would’ve gotten children earlier and Marie could have used more time to establish a good reputation in France.


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