How is the Gunpowder plot best explained?
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How is the Gunpowder plot best explained?
Completely Manufactured ? Fabricated ? Set-up ?
I don’t think this could be true because it is too unobvious a scandal to invent for those days. There are so many accounts and theories about the events surrounding the conspiracy and the capture of Guy Fawkes himself, that it appears that there must an element of truth in the story as in the saying ‘Where there is smoke there is fire’. If the story had been fabricated there are only two sides which would have had an interest in doing so – the Catholics (potential supporters of Guy Fawkes and opposers to the King) in order to fuel other opposers into rebellion, and the Protestants (King James, his parliament and the majority of the population of England at this time). The Protestant Parliament would have had good reason to make an example of disloyal subjects, so fabricating the plot and the traitors, to teach other would-be plotters to beware. On the other hand the Catholics might have invented the story in order to fuel hatred against King James and try to encourage other Catholics to rebel about the dominating new religion they were being forced to accept. It seems implausible that the Catholics would have invented this story, however, as there seem to be so many accounts of Guy Fawkes existence, role in the plot and subsequent burning that this part at least must be true and they would have been very unlikely to sacrifice him in this manner if the story had been invented. There are so many layers and sources of accounts of events, that I think it very unlikely that it could have been completely manufactured.
Was originally a plot and got manufactured.
It is possible that this could be true. Dissatisfaction and hatred for the King were running so high that many of his enemies would have felt good reason to plot against him and his parliament. Many probably did, but may have become scared of getting caught and of the subsequent fatal punishments, that plans of overthrowing the government would be abandoned. This could even have been the case with Guy Fawkes, Christopher and John Wright, Thomas Percy, and Thomas and Robert Winter. Their abandoned plot may have been discovered later and shown to Lord Mounteagle and subsequently the King who wanted to make an example of the would-be plotters and invented the capture of Guy Fawkes in the Parliament cellars. This seems unlikely to me, as it would have been easy enough for the King to arrest all of the plotters for conspiring to blow up the Houses of Parliament, instead of just Guy Fawkes. However, the unconvincing reports on Fawkes’ confession after his torture could suggest that everything he confessed to, was a lie. Although some minor changes to the story could have been made, for example, saying the King took the letter to Lord Mounteagle very seriously and it was his idea to check the cellars. I think that this could have been a change, because the King obviously wanted to keep his public profile high so everyone would think he was intelligent, and giving him the credit for discovering the traitor, Guy Fawkes.
Everything was true.
I believe almost everything was true in the story of the Gunpowder plot, which accounts for its notoriety even 400 years later. The majority of the population do not doubt it, but sometimes all of the fools may be on the same side. Nobody will ever know for certain if it was true or not. However the evidence in favour of the authenticity of the basis of the plot does seem to be overwhelming, for example…
Various artists of the time drew their impressions of the plotters and them at work as they set about destroying the Houses of Parliament. This at least shows that the story existed in 1605 and was not a later fabrication. However the drawings and engravings could still have been commissioned by the King to give authenticity to the story. The fact that the story is told from both the Protestants and the Catholics points of view show that the main events most likely did take place, but interpretations will always differ. The story has remained so controversial
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Guy Fawkes, Anti-Protestantism, Gunpowder Plot, Thomas Percy, John and Christopher Wright, The Plot, Gunpowder Plot in popular culture, Guy Fawkes mask
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