Monday, February 10, 2020

The Return of Martin Guerre Assignment Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1750 words

The Return of Martin Guerre - Assignment Example The Return of Martin Guerre The new Martin Guerre was in fact Arnaud du Tilh from another village. The real Guerre had fled to Spain and fought in their war against his home country, where he lost one leg in battle. du Tilh, nicknamed â€Å"Pansette† (the belly) for his voracious appetite for life’s finer things (including women) was also something of a con man and spent years perfecting the Guerre persona, for Pansette also looked remarkably like Guerre. He fooled all the villagers, including Guerre’s sisters but the one person he didn’t hoodwink was Bertrande, Martin’s wife. However, Pansette was all of what Martin never had been, perhaps more of a man, and Bertrande helped the man perfect his lie, living with him as his wife. The one downfall for Pansette was when he sold some of the family holdings and demanded an accounting of his â€Å"father’s† estate from Uncle Pierre, the executor in Martin’s absence. Enraged, Pierre managed to gather enough doubt that Pansette was the real Martin and brought him to trial. With supporters on both sides, the judge craftily turned the case over to Parliament, whose agent decided Pansette was in fact probably Martin. In the midst of that confusion, the real Martin Guerre showed back up on his crutch and proved his identity to be true. Therefore Pansette was executed by hanging. Bertrande, because of her adultery, was sentenced to the same fate but only spared due to her being female. Instead she was forced to watch probably the only man she loved die and had to live with the man who deserted her. So what was life like for the peasant class of sixteenth century Europe, France in particular? For one thing the health conditions were horrendous. The infant mortality rate was so high that thirty-three per cent of babies born failed to survive past their first birthday. That was little wonder, for such diseases as typhus, measles, malaria, smallpox, and scarlet fever were rampant. Add to that the most famous disease of the time, the Bubonic Plague, or Black Death, which killed without mercy from the lowest peasant to the Royal Families themselves. It wiped out huge percentages of the populations within days during its sporadic outbreaks, one of which occurred during Guerre’s time. However, even if one managed to avoid all of this, the average life expectancy was around forty years old. Essential services were nonexistent. There was very little fresh drinking water and raw sewage ran in the fields and streets. Hygiene was very seldom practiced and people went weeks or months without bathing. Without refrigeration, meats and dairy products spoiled very quickly. Fresh fruits and vegetables were also scarce so scurvy and rickets were commonplace. All of this contributed to an abundance of vermin such as rats and their fleas, which in turn were directly responsible for the Plague. Clothing was simple and mostly handmade for the peasant class, for fabric was expensive and rare. The French peasants, like their counterparts throughout Europe, toiled with the same primitive tools their ancestors had used for centuries. Draft animals such as horses were scant so most of the work was done by hand. The money-based economies were growing for the middle and upper

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