Mata Hari (aka Margaretha Zelle)

This weekend I’ve been doing a lot of history research.
I have based one of my drama examination pieces on Mata Hari, the infamous exotic dancer of the 20th century who had a tragic ending.

I’ve watched 2 different documentaries based on her, both slightly contradictory and I have discovered a whole new side to WWI.

I feel genuinely sorry for Mata Hari and yet I admire her courage. She lived life on edge because that’s how she liked it. Sitting at home with her family and being normal was far too casual and boring for her so she recreated herself. She became a new woman: the exotic eastern dancer. The war got in the way of her busy lifestyle. She enjoyed being on the move and she particularly enjoyed being in Paris, the city which truly defined her. Unfortunately, she got into a bit of a pickle as officers became suspicious of her movement and sexual life with other officers; but Mata just loved a man in uniform. She thought she could juggle being a spy for France just as she juggled being Mata Hari, but when the officer who offered her the post as a spy betrayed her she was cornered by two opposing countries. The Germans were suspicious of her being an agent for France whilst the French accused her of the opposite. Meanwhile, the officer who offered her the position did not defend Mata Hari, and no one knew that she was working with the French so they all denied any relations with her. Poor Mata. See what I mean? She was brave and she was in actual fact innocent. She didn’t spy on anyone, she got accused of it, then offered a position as agent, then got accused of being an agent again! Mata Hari (which isn’t her original name) died tragically but stood tall nonetheless. She was innocent, and this was her last performance.

A truly moving and spicy life story for a woman of the 1900s. I’m excited to be in her shoes! I urge you to read about her 🙂

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