Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Charles Batson




French, violence, religion, conflict, massacre


Although the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew and the French Wars of Religion are well-known historical events, there remain some mysteries as what led to such violent tensions between fellow French people. Were religious differences to blame, or was the bloodshed caused by the political intrigues of nobles like Catherine de Medici? Perhaps the economic climate of the age added to the discontent of the common people and the Huguenots were a convenient scapegoat? Then again, it might have been all of those factors and more than led to decades if not centuries of tension in France. This thesis explores the roots and progression of the conflict between Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots) in 16th century France. It discusses the main events in the Wars of Religion along with their religious, political and economic causes. Unlike most analyses of the conflict, however, it also uses two novels by the historical fiction author Alexandre Dumas (La Reine Margot and La Dame de Monsoreau) to provide some insight as to how this historical period was seen by the French several centuries later.