Through the use of two main characters in the film, Queen Margot, a critical examination will be made to further understand the importance of developing characters and their respected standard historical interpretations. By heavily characterizing the protagonist, Margaret of Valois, audience members were given the ability to identify with her. Similarly, the Queen regent, Catherine de Medici remained heavily mythologized in the film to advance the plotline. The overall success of the film can thereby be attributed to the prominence of the representation of historical figures.
The filmmakers modernized the characterization of Margaret of Valois allowing audiences to have the ability to relate with historical characters. From the beginning of the film, Margaret is portrayed as a pawn in the hands of her family by having to comply to an arranged marriage with a Protestant, Henry of Navarre (Chéreau, Queen Margot). Catherine organized the marriage alliance in 1572. (Durkee 67). This submissive behaviour allows the audience to connect and empathize with Margaret. Even in the final scenes of the movie, the audience is left sympathizing with Margaret as she rides away in the carriage with her dead lover, La Mole’s head on her lap (Humbert 231). The audience has followed Margaret’s journey, all the while sharing similar emotions and interacting with her character. This demonstrates the importance of developing the character of Margaret of Valois even if historical accuracy is sacrificed (Humbert 225). Thus, modernizing the story is critical in order to evoke emotions and allow for historical interpretation of the real Margaret.
Margaret of Valois in Queen Margot undergoes a transformation from a seductress to a virtuous woman as a result of falling in love with La Mole. In the film, Margaret of Valois is seen prowling the cobblestone streets of France for a suitable man to satisfy her lust. This is a turning point for Margaret who in return falls in love with the Protestant La Mole and claims he is the only individual who has taught her love and pleasure (Chéreau, Queen Margot). Through the use of intense love scenes and clichéd romantic dialogue, the film focuses on developing the character of Margaret. The majority of the movie aims to demonstrate the change in character of Margaret and how she sides with her lover and the oppressed Huguenots. Emphasis is placed on the transition from Margaret’s insatiable sexual needs to an individual who takes on a conventional cinematic relationship with La Mole (Humbert 229-230). The film brings an intensive proximity to sixteenth century rather than an intellectual historical understanding.
Throughout the film, the responsibility of the St. Bartholomew Day massacre was greatly attributed to Catherine de Medici. This leads one to believe Catherine de Medici was the sole instigator in the planned assassinations against the Huguenots (Durkee 67). In the movie, Catherine de Medici is seen to have ordered...