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History Paper - During the French Revolution, a time of...

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During the French Revolution, a time of great turmoil existed known as the Terror. In his novel, The Gods will Have Blood , Anatole France draws a parallel between his characters and the violence that was caused by the Terror. The fear and the violence that is rampant throughout France is viewed differently by the main characters, Gamelin Evariste, Elodie Braise and the people of France. Anatole France shows the progression of how the Terror escalated in Paris and throughout France by developing Gamelin from a gentle, kind-hearted citizen, to a monstrous magistrate. The Revolution and Terror is not to be solely caused by the leaders and revolutionaries during this troubled time, it is the relationships between the people and its leaders that caused the hostility and collapse of the “government.” A. France’s development of Gamelin, Elodie and the secondary characters, and their intertwined relationships help answer why the Revolution gave way to state-sponsored violence and an explanation of the reign of Terror and its eventual end. The Gods will Have Blood is set in the most radical phase of the French Revolution, known as the Terror. It is in Paris where the main character, Gamelin, is given the opportunity to explore the experiences and power of a magistrate. Born to the lower middleclass, Gamelin was an unknown artist, who although was not exposed to the benefits of the upper middle class, he still had the fervor for defending his motherland, France. It was Gamelin who, “though without a penny to his name, was on the list of militant members of the Section; the law allowed this privilege only to citizens rich enough to pay a contribution equivalent to the value of three day’s work.” (A. France p. 30) It was only by “…the Section Pont-Neuf, obsessed with equality and jealous for its autonomy, held that every citizen who paid for his National Guard uniform out of his own pocket should be eligible to vote and to hold office.”(p. 30) So it was by the influence of the Revolutionaries that gave Gamelin, a simple artist, the opportunity to serve for the cause of 1
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the new government. Gamelin had such strong feelings in taking part of the Revolution that “his heart beating at the sight of the beflagged marquee…inscrib[ed] the names of the volunteers,”(p. 37) was an indication of how much he appreciated and was aroused by the sense of duty to his country. However even with his firm belief in his duty, Gamelin was affectionate and tender natured, believing that “. .. joining the army would have meant leaving his mother to starve.” (p. 37) Before appointed the position of a magistrate, Gamelin believed that the violence, that was rampart throughout his country, was necessary. Gamelin believed that “…Only the guillotine can save our country!”(75) and that “It’s only the despots who believe the death penalty is a natural attribute of authority. One day the sovereign people will abolish it…but that won’t be possible
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This note was uploaded on 05/28/2009 for the course HIST 4C taught by Professor Dawson during the Spring '07 term at UCSB.

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History Paper - During the French Revolution, a time of...

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