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Fozzie
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Act IV

Here is a thread for discussion of Act IV.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Wordsmith
Fozzie
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Re: Act IV - The Count

In the section of posts for Act III, I mentioned the historical question of whether or not MA and the Count had a physical affair.

I think Sena treated this subject masterfully. The language and word choice used to describe their interactions and feelings were perfect.

I have come to believe that they had an affair of the heart and mind, but not of the body.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
jd
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jd
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Re: Act IV - The Count

I wonder if she did have the affair. At the time France was very liberal and it was common to have affairs, especially if you were royal. She was rather neglected by 'latent' Louis, and had ample opportunity. On the other hand she was her mamma's daughter and was very religious. I agree that Ms. Naslund portrayed their affection remarkably well - jd
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driamaria
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Re: Act IV

I have to say, that I'm not liking MA as much as I was in the beginning of the book. I'm beginning to find her hypocritical and ignorant. At one point in the book she criticizes the Blood princes for not wanting to pay more taxes. However, she certainly isn't doing without or making sacrifices for the people. While the population is starving she's building a hameau and buying porcelain inlaid with jewels. She also seems fairly oblivious and ignorant of the plight of the people. She's in a position, that should she choose to, she could be educated about the population, the economic, politics, etc. But instead it seems she's hiding behind the walls of Versailles living in a fairly tale.

Has anyone else felt this way about MA?
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Fozzie
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Re: Act IV



driamaria wrote:
I have to say, that I'm not liking MA as much as I was in the beginning of the book. I'm beginning to find her hypocritical and ignorant. At one point in the book she criticizes the Blood princes for not wanting to pay more taxes. However, she certainly isn't doing without or making sacrifices for the people. While the population is starving she's building a hameau and buying porcelain inlaid with jewels. She also seems fairly oblivious and ignorant of the plight of the people. She's in a position, that should she choose to, she could be educated about the population, the economic, politics, etc. But instead it seems she's hiding behind the walls of Versailles living in a fairly tale.

Has anyone else felt this way about MA?



I have to agree that MA becomes a less sympathetic figure in Act IV. I don't think this is by chance. I think Sena purposefully includes facts that lead us to see her in a less sympathetic light.

I recall one comments MA made about reducing her staff by about 170 people to economize. I can't even imagine! LOL!
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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marcialou
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Re: Act IV

I didn't feel less sympathetic towards MA as the book progressed. In fact, I was getting a little annoyed with her naive optimism and piety and was glad to see her become a more complex character. In a lot of ways she was a pretty ordinary woman, given her time and place and expections for her. She never transcended them, but whom among us does? Very few.

She wasn't a great woman. She committed some excesses that deserved at least some of the derision she received from her contemporaries, but she also displayed a compassion and dignity that would become any of us.

Marcia
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Fozzie
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Re: Act IV and Act V



Fozzie wrote:


driamaria wrote:
I have to say, that I'm not liking MA as much as I was in the beginning of the book. I'm beginning to find her hypocritical and ignorant. At one point in the book she criticizes the Blood princes for not wanting to pay more taxes. However, she certainly isn't doing without or making sacrifices for the people. While the population is starving she's building a hameau and buying porcelain inlaid with jewels. She also seems fairly oblivious and ignorant of the plight of the people. She's in a position, that should she choose to, she could be educated about the population, the economic, politics, etc. But instead it seems she's hiding behind the walls of Versailles living in a fairly tale.

Has anyone else felt this way about MA?



I have to agree that MA becomes a less sympathetic figure in Act IV. I don't think this is by chance. I think Sena purposefully includes facts that lead us to see her in a less sympathetic light.

I recall one comments MA made about reducing her staff by about 170 people to economize. I can't even imagine! LOL!



After reading Act Five, I have flip flopped again! I am sympathetic to MA. The dignity and grace with which she bears the circumstance into which she was thrust is amazing.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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SenaJeterNaslund
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎08-01-2007
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Re: Act IV

For me Act IV is on the downward slope for Marie Antoinette. So many big, sad things happen in this section: her mother dies, she has a miscarriage on her birthday,she is implicated in a hoax though she is entirely innocent. The bad press she gets really puts her out of favor with the people--totally unjust; her little daughter Sophie dies, and finally the beloved Dauphin died. With the fall of the Bastille, the Revolution has begun which will lead to so much bloodshed, including the death of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. But she meets all the loss in Act IV bravely, though she is shaken to the core in the loss of those she loves.
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driamaria
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Re: Act IV - The Count

There was one passage in the book that I thought was both very beautiful, but also really hinted at an affair between MA and Fersen. The part that I found very beautiful was p. 439 - "It is almost the noon hour and even the time of day pleases me: the morning is swooping toward its apex, when it kisses the sun both hello and farewel, and begins its descent. It is the crest of the wave, the peak of time, and for the me the time to daydream, to remember and savor." I think this passage really speaks of abundance, because of all the places that MA had abundance, in her spirit and mind was one of the foremost places. She was really just a relatively average human being thrown into a difficult situation - but she gave it her all, remained optimistic, graceful and royal until the very end. And I think it's this attitude that really conveys abundance more than all the other tangible aspects of abundance that she had.

I also think this passage, as it discusses her visit to the moss-lined grotto, is the foremost one in the book that hints at an affair between Fersen and MA. I feel as if the author dances around the topic here, not wanting to committ her character to the sinful act, but letting the reader decide what MA has really done.
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driamaria
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Re: Act IV and Act V

I agree - she went down in my opinion during Act IV, but during Act V I really liked her again. I thought she was brave in the face of her impending doom. I thought she really came to care about her children and give herself to them. I admired the courtesy and respect that she treated those caring for her in jail with. Overall, in a situation that would have been easy to become filled with hate and bitterness, she rose above it.
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driamaria
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Re: Act IV

Act IV and Act V to me were like watching a horror movie - I knew that a gruesome ending was in store and I just could not look away. I could barely put down the book, wanting to know their final fates.

MA's last comment of the book is that, "I am not afraid". Isn't this quote also attributed to Joan of Arc who said, "I am not afraid, I was born to do this."? I think this is very fitting, illustrating that whether commoner or royal, we are all just human and in the hands of fate, we are all just pawns. But we do have the choice in how we react to the events that life throws at us - either to quiver in fear and let our animal nature grab hold of us, or to hold our heads up high and meet those events head on with dignity and self-assurance as did MA.
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