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The Return of Martin Guerre
The return of Martin Guerrero is a story that continues to capture the imagination of many historians and story tellers to date almost 40 years on. Although there are differing accounts of the story, a huge majority of accounts revolve around the tale of an impostor Arnaud du Tilh who manages to convince a whole village that he is the long lost Martin Guerre returned from war, apparently managing to convince even Bertrand herself ( Martin’s wife), that he is her husband returning after 8 years. However, after three years and a few squabbles with Pierre Guerre Martina’s uncle, villagers begin suspecting Arnaud of being an impostor, suspicions that culminate in his trial. Although Bertrand and Pansette as he had been nicknamed almost convince the court that he is indeed the real Martin Guerre, the arrival of the real man himself spoils the party and actually leads to Arnaud’ conviction and subsequent execution.
Although a majority of historians believe that Arnaud had successfully deceived everyone, Natalie Zemon Davies provides a different controversial angle to the story, instead arguing that Bertrand was a willing accomplice right from the start. Davies provides signs throughout the story and also argues that based on the theory of improbability it was highly unlikely that Bertrand was successfully deceived into believing Arnaud was her husband.
Davies argues that it is highly unlikely that Bertrand could not tell the impostor from her real husband, and must have therefore, made a conscious decision to allow the impostor back into her life, most likely due to the social and economical benefits that would likely accrue from her having a husband, regardless of whether or not it was an impostor. She suggests that one of the signs that Bertrand was being dishonest is the fact that even at the.............
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