Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots
by Alexandre Dumas
Copyright 1995 (?)
Read by Julie Christie
Abridged
6 hours

I have long been fascinated by Mary, Queen of Scots. Mostly this was because when I was about three years old, I allegedly told my mother that I was born in Scotland and was present at the beheading of the queen. My Baptist-raised mother feared I was reincarnated and forbade me to ever speak of it again. I haven't the slightest recall of this but my mother mentioned it to me several times when I was older. Of course she did not write anything down so I must rely only her memory, which was marred by her puzzlement as to how her baby girl could speak of such things.

In any event, the tragedy of this queen has always struck a chord. Lovely and chilling, Mary Stuart was foiled in love as well as in rule. She could not chose a husband wisely to save her life - and ultimately, it certainly did not.

As told by Dumas, Mary's biggest mistake was trusting that Elizabeth I, her cousin, would harbor her safely. Instead she imprisoned her for nearly 20 years and when she finally could she had the unfortunate woman beheaded.

If only she'd gone to France instead of England, the entire course of history might have changed.

I enjoyed listening to this. Dumas obviously took literary license in the tale, creating scenes and dialogue. It was quite entertaining and I greatly admired Mary for her demeanor as portrayed in this book. Even at the end, as she was led to the executioner, she was a stately presence. Would that we all would meet our demise with such grace.

4 stars

4 comments:

  1. wow - I wonder where that came from!

    She has a good story I must agree.

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  2. As an admirer of Elizabeth I (about the only monarch I do admire!) I have to object to your interpretation of the events leading up to Mary's death. It is just as likely that Elizabeth kept her alive as long as she possibly could, against the (sound, if pragmatic rather than moral) advice of her council. Unfortunately Mary continued to dally with Catholics seeking to assasinate the excommunicated Elizabeth and place her on the throne instead. For the good of the country, that could not be tolerated.

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  3. Forgot to add - going to France (where she would undoubtedly have stirred up more intrigue and conspiracy) might not have changed history much. Her son peacefully and legitimately succeeded Elizabeth on the throne of England, as James VI of Scotland and James 1 of England. That outcome would be one she would not wish changed.

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  4. Anon, it wasn't my interpretation - that was the book author's interpretation. Until I regain my recincarnated memory and "see" it for myself, I don't know what happened...

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