Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- How important was Marie Antoinettes childhood in
Austriahistorical enemy of Francein influencing her career? Would it
ever have been possible for an Austrian princess to have a
satisfactory life in France?
- Was Marie Antoinettes relationship with her mother, the Empress
Maria Teresa, a damaging or a supportive element of her life?
- Marie Antoinettes marriage to the Dauphin, later Louis XVI,
remained unconsummated for seven and a half years. What effect did
this have on her characterand her relationship with her husband?
- Were the accusations of extravagance and frivolity leveled against
Marie Antoinette justifiedboth during her own lifetime and since?
Marie Antoinette was also the target of numerous vicious libels about
her sexuality. What part did these libels played in blackening the
image of royalty in France, and how valid were they?
- Assess the political role of Marie Antoinette in the years shortly
before the French Revolution: Should she have tried to influence Louis
XVI more or was she correct to let history take its own course?
- Marie Antoinette was a patron of the arts and a nature enthusiast.
Is philanthropy an essential part of the royal role?
- Once the French Revolution started, Marie Antoinette could
probably have escaped by herself, or with her little son disguised as
a girl. Instead she saw it as her duty to remain at the Kings side.
Knowing that she was an unpopular queen, why did she make that
- Marie Antoinettes courage and composure at her trial and
execution aroused widespread admiration at the time, even from her
enemies. How much had her character changed since her youth? Or were
such qualities always latent in her personality?
Reproduced with the permission of Anchor Books.
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Anchor Books.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.