The Gods Will Have Blood (the Gods Are Athirst)
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Anatole France's work "Les dieux ont soif" translates to "The Gods Will Have Blood" or "The Gods are Athirst." Both translations of the title accurately depict the nature of this novel set during the French Revolution. Young artist Évariste Gamelin is the right-hand man of Jacobin, Marat, and Robespierre and eventually becomes appointed as a juror on the Revolutionary Tribunal during the heinous Reign of Terror. Though Gamelin fully believes in the ideas of revolution and liberty, he uses his position of power to terrorize his friends and family who do not agree with his zealous ideals. Yet his bloodthirsty nature is put to an end when he, along with his mentor Robespierre, is beheaded during the aftermath of the Thermidorian Reaction. "The Gods Will Have Blood" was published in 1912, and author Anatole France received the Nobel Prize for Literature in honor of his literary achievements. The text shows the dangers a fervently angry country and the terror that can arise when the public is allowed to dole out its own version of justice with random death sentences. It shows the consequences when humanity is consumed by an idea, even a good idea, that is allowed to become more important than the people who hold it.
stood up with a decisive movement, gave him the three red carnations from her balcony and jumped lightly back into the cabriolet which had brought her. It was a hired carriage, painted yellow, hung very high on its wheels, and it certainly had nothing of the ordinary about it, nor the coachman either. But Gamelin was not accustomed to hiring carriages, nor were those with whom he mixed. And at the sight of her being whirled away on those great wheels, he had a shrinking feeling in his heart and
in front of her, ashamed and hesitant. She appeared not to see him. He stammered something, and then, pulling out his pocket knife, a clasp-knife with a horn handle, he cut his loaf in two and put half of it on the young mother’s knees. She looked up at him in astonishment; but he had quickly turned the corner of the street. Arriving home, Évariste found his mother sitting by the window darning socks. With a little laugh he put what was left of the bread into her hand. ‘Dear mother, you’ll
hair falling loose, her whole body ready to surrender, she escaped his hold and ran, as if running in her sleep, to push in the bolt on the door… Night had long fallen when the Citizeness Blaise opened the door of her apartment for her lover and said to him softly in the darkness: ‘Good-bye, my love! This is the time my father usually returns. If you hear any noise on the staircase, run back up quickly to the top floor and don’t come down until you’re quite sure there’s no danger of being seen.
and the executioner, take their lives themselves! The fury to kill inspires a fury to die. Here, in the Conciergerie, a young soldier, handsome, strong, and beloved; he has left in the prison an adorable girl who loves him and who has said to him: ‘Live for me!’ He wants neither to live for her nor for love nor for glory. He has lit his pipe with his writ of accusation. He is a Republican, breathing Liberty with every breath he takes, yet he turns Royalist so that he may die. The Tribunal tries
flashed through a brain soon to be enveloped in eternal night. Trubert foresaw the outcome of the policy of terror. Where voluntary recruitment had failed, compulsion had succeeded in producing a strong disciplined army; in their terror the generals had realized the best thing for them was to be victorious. One final effort, and the Republic would be saved. After half an hour of semi-consciousness, Fortuné Truber’t face, hollow and worn with disease, lighted up again and his hands moved. He