Representing Charles I’s Death in some Mazarinades : The Limits of the Aristotelian Tragic Model
Gilles Bertheau, « Representing Charles I’s Death in some Mazarinades : The Limits of the Aristotelian Tragic Model », Études Épistémè, 20, 2011
While in England King Charles I engaged in the Second Civil War (1648), in France, young King Louis XIV was about to face a period of violent political upheaval called the Fronde. Forced to resort to heavy taxation because of the ongoing war with Spain – in spite of the Treaty of Westphalia that terminated the Thirty Years War in 1648 –, Queen Anne and Cardinal Mazarin were openly defied by Parliament and some of the greatest aristocrats, who regarded this fiscal policy as an intolerable means of asserting the absolute power of the sovereign.
The hatred that Mazarin, an Italian, aroused among French lawyers and aristocrats, as well as his allegedly bad influence on the queen – they were rumoured to have an affair, which was false – caused an unprecedented outburst of libellous tracts that were soon to be called Mazarinades. Some of the anonymous authors of these texts were keenly aware not only of what was happening across the Channel, but also of the potential threat the dangerous events of the Civil War could represent for the kingdom of France, especially after the unthinkable death of Charles I, King Louis XIV’s own uncle.