Open Menu
 
Guy Fawkes, a hero?

Hero or villain? This sometimes depends on who is talking about it. Guy Fawkes is considered a Catholic terrorist who tried to kill the king, but the story is not so simple.

At that time, Catholics had been oppressed and persecuted for many years. The queen tried to force everybody to convert to the new religion, protestant Anglicanism, but many people, called "recusants" wanted to remain Catholic. Things were really hard for them, but when Queen Elizabeth died, they hoped their situation would improve.

The new king, James I, happened to be as bad as the previous sovereign in that respect. Instead of granting religious freedom, he made things even worse for Catholics, passing laws and more laws that were making life really difficult for them. So it is no wonder that a small group of Catholics decided to do something about it, but unfortunately they decided that the only way was to kill the king and the whole government so things could finally change.

Guy Fawkes was simply one of those plotters, but he was the one caught first, and so the most famous one. At that time, many people were not happy with the king, and other groups had tried to kill him before, but this time the reaction was different and the king wanted to make a really big fuss about it. Fawkes was not the only terrorist at the time, but the king decided to make of him The Terrorist, the Evil one, and he tried to make sure nobody would forget him for centuries to come (and so it is). Why? Why Fawkes and not the others before him? Because this one was a Catholic and he used his case as a symbol of the triumph of Protestantism over Catholicism. It was political and religious propaganda. God saved the king, so God was on the Protestants' side and against the Catholics. Besides, he found the perfect excuse to pass even harder laws on Catholics and increase persecution on them. That explains why the king ordered an execution so cruel and humiliating and then decreed a festival to commemorate Fawkes death forever. This was Guy's and his fellows' sentence:
 
The condemned would be drawn backwards to his death, by a horse, his head near the ground. They were to be "put to death halfway between heaven and earth as unworthy of both". Their genitals would be cut off and burnt before their eyes, and their bowels and hearts removed. They would then be decapitated, and the dismembered parts of their bodies displayed so that they might become "prey for the fowls of the air". Cruel, eh?

But contrary to what people believe, Guy Fawkes did not die burnt on the stake. Although weakened by many days of torture, Fawkes managed to jump from the gallows, breaking his neck in the fall and thus avoiding the agony of the latter part of his execution. His lifeless body was nevertheless drawn and quartered and his body parts were then distributed to "the four corners of the kingdom", to be displayed as a warning to other would-be traitors.

This video says that Guy Fawkes was not a terrorist, but a man who tried to fight a tyrannical power the only way he could. He wanted to start a revolution... but he failed. But wait, no, he didn't fail, he started something, and his heritage still lives on... in the USA (?) And then we have a politician trying to claim for him Fawkes' revolutionary heritage. Oh well.

Guy Fawkes a hero? Maybe he had serious reasons to do it, but he forgot, as many others, that THE END NEVER JUSTIFIES THE MEANS. He was simply a terrorist, and all terrorists think they kill for a good cause, but no cause is good if you have to kill for it.

And yea, this is yet another story with no good guys.

0:57            
 
 
© Angel Castaño 2008 Salamanca / Poole - free videos to learn real English online || M-E widgetsInfoPrivacyTerms of useContactAbout why?
Browsing this website means you accept its Cookie Policy.