The Rose of Versailles is a shojo classic with a reputation as an LGBTQ+ work, mostly thanks to Oscar’s character and their relationships with women like Marie Antoinette and Rosalie. While that’s one of the show’s main draws and much can be said about it, this time I’m looking into a less-discussed side of the show: its portrayal of female anger, ambition and power, and how they exist within considerable limitations.
The show—which takes place in France in the years leading to the French Revolution—blends fantasy with history, keeping major historical events and figures while taking liberties in the way they fit in the story. Historical accuracy doesn’t matter much beyond following key events that culminate in the revolution and eventual execution of Marie Antoinette. The layers of fantasy give the story flexibility not only in the relationships it creates and the subplots it follows, but in the way the characters are portrayed.