What better way to kick-start 2019 than with the most joyful of topics; death. Specifically, famous people last words. When faced with the certainty of death, people tend to-understandably– fall in a vortex of despair. But in rare instances such as the following, we get fascinating lines that suit their sayers to a T. So a la Foster Kane, here are your Rosebuds:
Marie-Antoinette :Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Je ne l’ai pas fait exprès
The French are known for 2 things: their hatred for showers, and love for revolutions. Unfortunately for Marie-Antoinette she was on the receiving end of one of those revolutions. By 1792, the French overthrew the monarchy, and Madame Déficit was locked up. Years of lavish lifestyle, superfluous spending, and one particular diamond necklace tarnished her reputation. So on 16 October 1793 she was led to her death. As she was approaching the guillotine, she accidently stepped on her executioner’s shoes. “Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Je ne l’ai pas fait exprès.” were her last recorded words.
Julius Caesar: Et tu, brute ?
No introductions needed for arguably the greatest emperor Rome has ever known. A name synonymous with military prowess, strategic feats taught till this day and …a salad. However, when he declared himself as dictator in perpetuity, the senate sought to end his reign. And so they conspired to assassinate him. 23 stabs later, Julius Caesar’s corpse lay cold in the theatre of Pompey. It is debated among scholars that his last words were directed at Brutus: “Et tu, brute?” which translates to: “you too, Brute?” Caesar was more appalled by the betrayal of Brutus- whom he considered a brother -than any other member of the senate.
P.S: Brutus had already betrayed the emperor prior to the assassination; but Julius spared his life out of love for him. Bad move.
Gary Gilmore: Let’s do it.
On January 17 1977 Garry Gilmore was to be executed by a firing squad. Convicted of killing 2 people, he was to become the first person in the United States to be executed in nearly a decade. “Let’s do it” he declared when asked for last words. Why is this so memorable you might ask? Well because his final words were the inspiration for the iconic Nike slogan: “Just do it”, as mentioned by Dan Wieden the founder of Wieden+Kennedy agency that created the said slogan.
John Sedgwick: They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.
During the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, General Sedgwick led his men into battle against the confederate sharpshooters. Under heavy fire, his men cowered and tried to dodge the bullets. Upon seeing this he tried to instill courage in his men: « Why are you dodging like this? They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance”. Yes, you guessed right. He was shot almost instantly under his left eye and fell down dead. He was the highest ranking Union death in the civil war.
Emiliano Zapata: Don’t let me die like this, say I said something!
Emiliano Zapata was a revolutionary figure in the Mexican revolution. The main leader of the peasant revolution in the state of Morelos. After years of political turmoil and revolt, Zapata tried to lure in colonel Guajardo to join the revolutionaries, however his plan backfired and he met his end at the hands of Guajardo’s men. His last words were along the lines of: “Don’t let me die like this, say I said something!”. They clearly fell on deaf ears.
Thomas de Mahy de Favras: Vous avez fait, Monsieur, trois fautes d’orthographe”.
Technically not his last words, but they are poignant nonetheless. When the french aristocrat was handed his death warrant, he scanned it, handed it back to the clerk and said: “Vous avez fait, Monsieur, trois fautes d’orthographe”. The next day he was executed.