Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Les Tricoteuses



Les Tricoteuses were the women who sat around the guillotine, keeping track of the number of executions with their knitting. They embodied the Terror of the French Revolution, for they seemed to be drawn to the blood and the violence, so consumed were they by hatred. When women are out for blood, they can be more ruthless than men, and far more cruel. Most of les tricoteuses, "the knitters," were simple and ignorant women, manipulated both by their own passions and by the leaders of the various factions. The manipulation was facilitated by famine, war and social chaos, all of which spiraled out of control amid the violence of the Revolution.

Les tricoteuses took part in the great massacres of the Revolution, such as when the mob attacked the Tuileries in August 1792, and during the slaughter of the following September. They were instrumental in storming the palaces and terrorizing the royal family. The were used by the new power elite. It is a sad but thought-provoking example of how low women can go when reduced by circumstances as well as by rage and hatred. The nastiness of les tricoteuses make those like Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Madame Elisabeth, and many others from all walks of life, who behaved with courage, dignity, and courtesy throughout every outrage, shine like lights in the darkness. Share

10 comments:

byron said...

Frightening. Devilish women; ghouls in the flesh; "for they seemed to be drawn to the blood and the violence, and so consumed were they by hatred"......the inversion of what is called to be a noble state is a horrible thing. Once they were little girls, sweet and nice, then to be turned into such creatures due to circumstances and free will is a horrible thing. Is it possible to come back from such a precipice?
It is possible to see such kinds of women on TV Talk shows who vent uncontrolled anger and hatred.

Haven't even touched on the topic of "malice of revolutionary men"; one can see a precursor of them in the "Orc" in the Lord of the Rings. Inverted nature.

"courage and confidence" are the watch-words in these coming days.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, Byron we have plenty of "tricoteuses" around today.....

Elisa said...

I thought of "Tale of Two Cities" while I read this. Madame de la Farge and her fellow kniters comes to mind...

alaughland said...

The cruelty and barbarous acts of the French Revolution are well documented, but the anger of the common people is understandable based on what they experienced. This is not to say I condone their way of expressing it. It is just that I understand the anger and frustration of the common folk having myself experienced the frustration of dealing with governmental leaders and their decisions.

elena maria vidal said...

When people are hungry and frightened, it can get ugly. That makes those who were martyred after many terrible sufferings all the more heroic.

de Brantigny said...

I teach in my classes that the human mind can not fathom over 1000after which our minds cease to comprehend the enormity of the massacre. They created for themselves a drug of death and were so "high" on it that they needed it. Death dealing is addictive. How different were they than say the Romans watching the Christians martyred? Or are we watching hooror movies? Such is a work of satan.

elena maria vidal said...

Very true. Such evil can be addictive-- like a drug....

Sanctus Belle said...

I had never heard of these women. We cannot assume ever that "modern" men and women are above such actions. We must be vigilant in our prayers. I enjoyed this post, thanks.

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks, Sanctus Belle, yes, people can quickly be reduced to such extremes.....

Margaret said...

Ahhh, so that was what Sir Percy was pretending to be in The Scarlet Pimpernel (version with Jane Seymour)! I just thought he was an 'old woman' - now I more fully understand why he was able to avoid a more thorough inspection of his cart. And that also explains the heads. Yuck.