Sun, 19 Oct 2014

The Legend Of The Man In The Iron Mask

The legend of the Man in the Iron Mask is a story popularized to most of us by books and films. One of the most famous portrayals of this story was played by Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio in a movie that was adapted from Alexandre Dumas' famous novel.

Since the film adaptation of Dumas' novel came out in the late 90s, people have developed their interest to the prisoner and often asked the question "who was the prisoner in the Iron Mask?"

The Story Of The Man In The Iron Mask

Contrary to modern beliefs, the story of the Man in the Iron Mask is actually real and the prisoner is not a mysterious fictional character. The Man in the Iron Mask was a prisoner of Louis XIV for five years and maybe even more than forty years. The fascination surrounding this myth rooted from the fact that even with all the speculations and investigations gathered by historians, the identity of the prisoner still remains a mystery to a lot of people.

So Who Was The Prisoner In The Iron Mask?

The man in the Iron Mask was Eustache Dauger who was held captive by Louis XIV during his reign in 1669 or 1670. Dauger was imprisoned in several jails including the Bastille and the Fortress of Pignerol in Italy. According to history experts, Dauger was held in the custody of Benigne Dauvergne de Saint-Mars for nearly 40 years.

The real identity of Dauger has been the subject of discussion for many years. No one ever saw what he looked like because of the mask of black velvet cloth concealing his face, which was later transformed into an iron. Dauger died in November 19, 1703 under the name Marchioly in the Bastille. Dauger was aged 45 when he died and he was buried in the parish cemetery of Saint-Paul.

Rumors and Legends

Legends revolving the character of the Man in the Iron Mask have sprung since he was imprisoned in 1669. Everyone was vying to find clues, eager to find facts that would answer the question "who was the prisoner in the iron mask."

The most popular of all the myths was the prisoner's ties to King Louis XIV. The story went on to say that the prisoner was the king's older brother, Louis Armand I, Prince of Conti, and he was kept hidden because he was first in line to the throne. Louis XIV had him imprisoned so he could be the king.

Another version of the story said that the prisoner was the younger brother to Louis XIV, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans but Louis was the Queen's lovechild to one of her lovers and as a result, the Sun King had no rights to become a king. All these stories surrounding the prisoner's lineage boiled down to his identity and privileges to royalty. He had to be imprisoned and concealed to the public to deny his rights to the throne.

The philosopher Voltaire supported this belief and went on to say that the prisoner was tall, charismatic, and could play the guitar. He wrote that the Man in the Iron Mask was about 60 years old when he died, which meant that the death certificate of the prisoner was either untrue, or it didn't belong to him at all.

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