Every year on November 5, people say the familiar little rhyme that begins with “Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Occupy Wall Street protesters wore Guy Fawkes masks as part of the protest, and V from the graphic novel and movie V for Vendetta hid himself behind a Guy Fawkes mask. The hacker group Anonymous hides in a similar way. Do these people truly understand who Guy Fawkes was? What the plot was actually intended to do? Probably not. If they did, they wouldn’t be so quick to wear the mask of treason.
First, Guy Fawkes was just one person involved in the more elaborate Gunpowder Plot. The plot was designed to take out the House of Lords, Anglican bishops, and King James I (the same monarch who sponsored the King James Bible). It was not intended to take out the House of Commons, because that house of parliament is elected by the people. The House of Lords is for the British aristocracy and is not elected but appointed or inherited. The same system of parliament is still in use in Britain today.
So if he didn’t want to take out the entire British government, what did he want to do? Good question. The members of the Gunpowder Plot were Catholics. If you know even very little of British history, you’ll know that because of Henry VIII, British history is full of conflict between Catholics and Anglicans (the Church of England). James I, as well as the House of Lords were a bunch of Anglicans. They also devised ways to have Catholics be second class citizens, which pissed off Catholics.
At this point, you might be connecting some dots. Oh, so the Gunpowder Plot was in order to achieve religious freedom in an oppressive country! No. That would be good and all, and definitely give some good meaning to Guy Fawkes, but sadly they never wanted religious freedom. Guy Fawkes and his comrades wanted to reinstate a Catholic monarchy to suppress Anglicanism in England. This would also create a Catholic theocracy in the country, which would allow the Pope to have some say in laws and regulations of the people. The plot’s intent was never about equality.
Moral of the story: Guy Fawkes did not want to destroy parliament completely, just the protestants; the plot was to reinstate a Catholic monarchy, which would only reverse the oppression and persecution in the country not end it; and the man was involved in a large plot that could hav killed many people. He was not a hero, he was a terrorist.