Black Robe Historical Analysis

2122 WordsSep 22, 20129 Pages
Black Robe: A Historical Analysis Black Robe presents the story of a French Jesuit missionary struggling to stay true to his religion while traveling from Champlain’s fur trading outpost to a Huron Native American mission in Nouvelle France during the 17th century. Father Paul La Forgue sets out on the 1,500 mile journey with members of the Algonquian tribe and a young Frenchman named Daniel Davost, determined to convert the “savages” to Christianity. Throughout the film, Father La Forgue faces the Algonquians’ beliefs that he is a demon, calling him “Black Robe”, and even abandoning him for a short period. Later, when his Algonquian guides and Daniel recover him, they are captured and tortured by an Iroquois tribe. Eventually,…show more content…
The fictional sorcerer subjects Father La Forgue to the same historical treatment that the actual Mestagoit applied to Father Le Jeune in 1634. Mestagoit tries to scare the “demon Black Robe” with loud noises, tells the Algonquians that they should kill La Forgue, and chastises the Algonquians for accepting the French’s gifts of flints, pots, and axes. A large inaccuracy in the film was the depiction of the Algonqians’ language. In Black Robe, the act of learning the native language of the Algonquians’ is portrayed as a commonality to many of the French. In reality, the native language was extensive and had extremely complicated vocabularies, with many variations, especially among the various tribes. Where the Algonquian and Montagnais depiction was based mostly upon historical accuracies, the Iroquois depiction in the film Black Robe was based largely upon gross inaccuracies. While the Iroquois were known historically for their brutality, the “running of the gauntlet” that the Frenchmen and Algonquian Chief Chomina had to complete was one of the only true Iroquois practices depicted in the film. The Iroquois in the film then deviate from history further to demonstrate “puzzling behavior” in the scenes within their encampment. Traditionally, the Iroquois take young men captives and give them to someone in the tribe that has lost a loved one in order to replace the hole that had been left
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