Oliver Cromwell Essay, Research Paper
As someone who stated watching the movie not knowing anything about the civil war the movie Oliver Cromwell came across as a good illustrator of the actual civil war. The movie made king Charles I come across as a king that was always committing unlawful acts, while looking out for himself and his people. Oliver Cromwell was portrayed as a strong leader not just for the common people but for England. After reading up on the facts of the civil war I realized the movie wasn’t as effective as I thought. The cause of the war and events during the war along side with the events in Parliament were misleading or left out. What I did like about the movie is the fact that the essence of Cromwell’s personality and strength were illustrated.
The Cromwell movie made it seem like the cause of the war was mainly that the king was unjust to his subjects. Cromwell who represented the people felt that England needed democracy and the king’s powers needed to be reduced. The king had responded by saying that you couldn’t expect “extraordinary possibilities in unextraordinary people.” The movie made it seem like the unfair treatment of the people was the main cause of the civil war, while my research tells me different. I learned that within Parliament itself there was a lot of disagreements and members of parliament and common people were divided due to different beliefs. 302 members of the House of Commons and 40 lords supported Parliament, while 236 commoners and 80 lords followed the king. Even families were divided. Fathers were fighting against sons and so on. The movie made it seem like the common people lead by Cromwell where all together fighting for justice against the king and his men.
During the events leading up to the war the radicals had divided Parliament and had given the kinging a party. During that movie that whole event was left out. The sheets say that when Charles planned to arrest the five members of the House of Commons they had been forewarned and had fled. In the movie the king entered the house asked for the five men to come forward but they didn’t but he could pick out Cromwell and the king and Cromwell had an argument about treason and he then left with no arrests. It’s like the scene was set up that way to add a little excitement to the movie. In my opinion the movie made it seem like the people in the House of Commons were weak individuals. No matter what the argument was, when Cromwell opened his mouth everyone eventually followed. There was no real challenging of Cromwell. Everyone let him have his moments of glory and never really said anything after that. That made me wonder especially seeing how there were people in the house that didn’t agree with Oliver’s opinion. There was a scene in the movie where members where deciding on something in a room and there was people that felt differently than Cromwell and he basically forced them to agree with his opinion. I understand the king was a very intimidating and influential person back then, but the one thing that everyone in Parliament could agree on was that the kings powers need to be reduced. There were scenes in the movie where the people in the house felt one way but they let their fears conquer them, and they changed their opinion. In the papers the Parliament as a hole seemed to have stronger people.
In Cromwell, after the war was over and the king was being tried the king stated that it was an unjust trial but everyone else in the movie was able to convinced me that it was. After reading the sheets I learned that it was an unjust trial and that the king had committed no crime known to the English law. The fact that Cromwell in the movie was offered $40,000 to spare the kings life convinced me more that the king had committed a crime which he was Trying to get out of. This whole court scene finished with the right ending but was misleading as far as the facts are concerned.
The last thing that I felt lowered the movie was that in the end it was stated that Cromwell was basically a dictator for England after the kings death but it didn’t show any of it and it was ended with Cromwell dying. The movie should have stated that he did this for the next eleven years and they should have should what he did and how it impacted the people.
Even with the movies faults it was a entertaining movie and it did teach me the main facts and events of the time even though some of them were left out and some of it was wrong. The execution scenes and the arguments in the house were my favourite and in my opinion I felt that the actor that they chose to be Oliver Cromwell did a good job. The most important thing to me was as a person that started watching the movie with no real knowledge of what had happened I was still able to pick up who was who and understand and keep up with what was going on. Since the movie is about history it should have had the facts down packed, and if it had I would have had no complaints with the movie.