Martin Guerre

Length: 5 Pages 1240 Words

During the period of the Renaissance in France in the sixteenth century, people had renewed interest in learning and values. Writers began rejecting accepted religious beliefs and focused more on human nature. This brought about a new way of life for people in France. In Natalie Zemon Davis’ The Return of Martin Guerre, an account of a man, Arnaud du Tilh, impersonating Martin Guerre shows us first hand the way of life during this time. An imposter, at this time, would be particularly frowned upon in society and would face rather harsh consequences. Davis proposes many possibilities regarding the story of Martin Guerre. Firstly, had the two men met? Davis proposes that Guerre and du Tilh had, indeed, met in their travels, whether it had been brief or extensive. Had they conspired? Perhaps Guerre “trained” du Tilh to be like himself. Yet, it seems to Davis, Guerre had never met du Tilh. As Davis says, a man du Tilh met who mistook him for Guerre sparked his eccentric idea to forge the identity of a somewhat well-off peasant with an estate left to him. Whatever the case may have been, du Tilh went along with this scheme. Regardless of the answers to the previous stated questions, people in the town took this imposter in a Continue...


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Perhaps this was because he told his accounts of the past so accurately, so precise, that no one could truly deny it was him. When Davis presents her thesis, it corresponds with the facts of the case that we acquire from Coras. Arnaud quickly appealed the verdict. Who knows for sure exactly who he truly tricked and who had their doubts. We can only surmise that certain occurrences were true and may have happened. The courthouse, as well as much of France at that time, was flooded with disputes between supporters of the new Protestant religion and supports of the old religion. This shows a transition into the "new world" and modern times. I consider this method of writing, especially about history, an effective way to relay the essence of a particular era. Perhaps what is unknown about the story is the very thing that provokes readers and historians to learn more about the era. This made me loose interest or get bored at times during the book. For example, the fact that the shoemaker testified that the real Martin"tms shoe size was different shows us that some people, such as Bertrande and Martin"tms sisters chose not to believe it. Although many aspects of the story and tales are unknown, it is easy once you begin reading to get into the minds of each person and decipher what may have happened. Again, this brings us back to the way of life during the sixteenth century. Life is made easier on Bertrande, and the rest of the family as well. This made it increasingly hard since neither the defense nor the prosecution had any concrete evidence as to influence the case either way.

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