Friday, November 5, 2010

Guy Fawkes



Traditionally, November 5th is designated Guy Fawkes day in honor of the man spearheading a plot to use copious amounts of gunpowder to blow up England's parliament building. He is usually viewed as a social anarchist intent on giving control of England back to the English people rather than the corrupt and greedy parliament. Such was the inspiration behind the 2006 movie "V for Vendetta" in which a masked superhero singlehandedly launches an uprising of people against an authoritarian regime that is in place in futuristic England dystopia.
But who was the man behind the hype? Well as a child he was raised in York by a single catholic Spaniard mother. He grew to embrace these qualities as an adult, even going so far as to fight for catholic Spain against the Dutch in the Eighty Years War. Later, Fawkes became involved with a group of English catholics who were displeased with how protestant their homeland was.
This gathering of like minded individuals went on to be the thirteen conspirators in the historic Gunpowder Plot.

These thirteen men met several times and they all agreed to participate in one way or another in the destruction of Parliament. Their one mistake came when one of them attempted to contact friends overseas for assistance. This backfired, and instead of providing assistance the contact ended up notifying the authorities of the impending attack. Fawkes was the unfortunate one designated to light off the gunpowder placed under Parliament, so he was naturally the first one caught and the scapegoat for the outrage of the people. Mr. Fawkes was hanged and then Drawn and Quartered after a lengthy torture as compensation for his crimes against England.
He is remembered today as a hero, but many ironies surround the historical interpretation of his most famous attempt. Perhaps the "V for Vendetta" was farthest off because Mr. Fawkes was by no means an anarchist. Quite the opposite in fact. The entire purpose of the Gunpowder Plot was to destroy the Protestant Parliament in order to install a Catholic theocracy in its place. It is for this reason that people today in England celebrate November fifth by burning Fawkes in effigy while lighting off firecrackers and fireworks.
No matter his motivation, Guido "Guy" Fawkes will remain immortal through the following rhyme:
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd (or by God's mercy*)
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

33 comments:

  1. Man that was an interesting read keep it up ;)

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  2. Very interesting. Nice to know the history about Nov 5.

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  3. Very nice post, looking forward to reading more :)

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  4. Aww, that kind of ruins the movie for me now :(

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  5. The movie is better ;) . But OK, replacing the King and protestant parliament by a catholic theocracy seems a complete idiotic idea these days.
    Anyways, hail the ones that dare to fight injustice and incompetent power.

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  6. Guy Fawkes, he's pretty awesome, just posted about him myself,

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  7. Epic story! Probably going to watch V later.

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  8. wish i had his mask, i'll have hueg conference 2day and i'd use the mask all day long, and people would be like "wut" all day long...

    jk, probably they wouldn't let me in with the mask

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  9. ahh i searched for the rhyme :) thanks for posting

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  10. can't wait until your next post!!

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  11. I showed my friends your post and they enjoyed it! Keep them coming!

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  12. Now I feel like watching V for Vendetta haha I might have to review it too :/

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  13. Thanks for sharing this, i never knew the true story behind the movie!

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  14. Interesting story, I didnt know this.

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  15. Cool story, thanks for teaching us about Guy Fawkes

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  16. I should really look into this guy :) thanks.

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  17. I love the story of Guy Fawkes..

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  18. I knew this,but it didn't stop me from watching the movie :D

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  19. this guy failed miserably. lol :D

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  20. Interesting. You learn something new everyday!

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  21. Remember, remember....

    I love guy fawkes.

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  22. I knew I forgot something yesterday...

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  23. Watchin V for Vendetta right now! Good post! :D

    Following! :D

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