The Scarlet Pimpernel (2 Parts)
One man is elusive, courageous, and clever. The other is fashionable, foppish, and silly. The first is a British thorn in the side of the French Republic and is known not by name, but by the small flower he has chosen as his symbol. The second is a dandy who hobnobs with the Prince of Wales and is known as a stylish English lord. How could these two men possibly be connected? Find out in The Scarlet Pimpernel, a new A&E production based on the historical novels of Baroness Orczy. Join the adventures of a mysterious Englishman and his international league of followers as they hasten to rescue innocent heads from Madame La Guillotine during France's infamous Reign of Terror. Set during one of the darkest periods in European history, the political and social chaos of revolutionary France comes to life in a story that simultaneously possesses all the markings of a tale of intrigue and espionage. The Scarlet Pimpernel would be useful for classes in European History, Literature, Culture, and Theatre Arts. It is appropriate for high school and college.
Note to Educators
This program may not be suitable for younger viewers due to occasional nudity and violence. Viewer discretion is advised.
Many men, women, and children were accused of treason during the Reign of Terror. What did the revolutionaries see as their crime? What kind of trial was afforded to prisoners of the republic? What major figures in French history were sent to the guillotine?
Percy behaves one way in society and another when in the company of the league. In addition, his manner toward Marguerite is cold despite his ardent love for her. Why does Percy wear these different masks? What are the differences between these masks? How does the actor, Richard E. Grant, choose to portray the characteristics of each? Does anyone else wear a mask in the story?
Upon Marguerite's arrival in Paris, Chauvelin has her imprisoned. Yet, during her trial, Chauvelin defends her against Minette's accusations. Why?
Marguerite refers to the Reign of Terror as a "holocaust," a term we most commonly recognize in relation to World War II. Why would she use this term? Compare the French Reign of Terror with Nazi Germany's Final Solution. Do you feel that Marguerite's remark aptly describes the destruction she has witnessed?
Many people in the story considered Percy to be a hero. Is he the only hero in the story? How does he compare to other heroes in fiction or reality?
Imagine the students in your class are actually citizens of a small town or city. Make a list of problems that your community faces. In groups of 3-4 students, choose one of the town's problems from the list and create the ultimate league of heroes to handle this issue. What is the philosophy behind your league? What is your plan for handling the issue? What is your symbol? Each league will present itself to the rest of the town and be open to taking questions from the citizens.