Aristocrat revolutionary turned angel of assassination

Normandy-born Revolutionary Charlotte Corday died aged just 24 by guillotine

Revolutionary figure Charlotte Corday is known for murdering a rival political figure in his bathtub. Samantha David looks at her extraordinary, if short, life and what motivated her ultimately fruitless act

Was Charlotte Corday misguided? Insane? Politically naive? Or was she just a murderess, plain and simple? It’s undisputed in fact, that she did murder Jean-Paul Marat as he lounged in his bath. But what kind of woman kills a man she hardly knows because she disagrees with his politics? Much as we might dream of murdering certain politicians, it’s a fantasy not a plan.

“Her actions have been interpreted differently by various people over the years,” says Alain Chevalier, the curator of the Musée de la Révolution Française in Vizille, just south of Grenoble. “She was provincial, a small-town aristocrat, well-educated and felt she was on a mission to save ‘The People’. I think she was vulnerable, fragile in her thinking, not really capable of following all the details of an argument. She thought ...

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