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Guy Fawkes
Black-and-white drawing
George Cruikshank's illustration of Guy Fawkes, published in William Harrison Ainsworth's 1840 novel Guy Fawkes
Born 13 April 1570 (presumed)
York, England
Died 31 January 1606 (aged 35)
Westminster, London, England
Other names Guido Fawkes, John Johnson
Occupation Soldier, alférez
Criminal status Executed
Parent(s) Edward Fawkes (father)
Edith (née Blake or Jackson) (mother)
Motive Gunpowder Plot, a conspiracy to assassinate King James VI & I and members of the Houses of Parliament
Conviction(s) High treason
Criminal penalty Hanged, drawn and quartered
Role Explosives
Enlisted 20 May 1604
Date apprehended
5 November 1605
Gunpowder Plot conspirators
The plotters

Guy Fawkes (13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606) sometimes known as Guido Fawkes, was a member of a group of Roman Catholic revolutionaries from England who planned to carry out the Gunpowder Plot. Fawkes and the other plotters planned to kill the king, James I, and replace him with a Catholic monarch.

The 5th of November 1605 is remembered each year in the UK, during Guy Fawkes Night. People build large bonfires, light fireworks, and burn figures of Fawkes (known as 'the guy').

November 5 was the date when Parliament re-assembled after a long recess. The plot was uncovered quite late, in the night before the day of the 5th. Fawkes was arrested as he sat in a cellar, near the gunpowder, waiting for the right time to set it off. He was tortured to make him reveal the names of the other plotters. Later eight men, including Fawkes, stood trial for high treason. They were found guilty and executed by hanging in Westminster, London, except for Fawkes, who killed himself by jumping from the scaffold before he was to be hanged. Their remains were sent to the corners of the kingdom and displayed, as a warning to others. There were five other conspirators; the main man, Robert Catesby, was killed by the Sheriff of Worcester when he tried to flee.


There are many places to find Fawkes in popular literature. Here are some important examples, listed in chronological order.

  • 1842: William Harrison Ainsworth - Guy Fawkes: A Historical Romance, is a historical novel which portrays Fawkes, and Catholic refusal to co-operate in general, favorably and begins to challenge the official version of the plot, one of the first to do so.
  • 1847: Charlotte Brontë - Jane Eyre, Jane is compared to Guy Fawkes, by Abbot, with the line "a sort of infantine Guy Fawkes" because she looked like she was constantly inventing wicked plots. Brontë, like Fawkes, was from Yorkshire.
  • 1850: Charles Dickens - David Copperfield, for Peggotty to find money for Saturday's expenses, she "had to prepare a long and elaborate scheme, a very Gunpowder Plot...", a direct reference to the Plot of Fawkes.
  • 1886: Herman Melville - Billy Budd, the novella mentions Fawkes in the passage "The Pharisee is the Guy Fawkes prowling in the hid chambers underlying the Claggarts".
  • 1925: T. S. Eliot - The Hollow Men, the epigraph of the Nobel Prize winning poem directly refers to Fawkes, "A penny for the Old Guy".
  • 1953: Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451, the protagonist of the novel is named Guy Montag, after Guy Fawkes and the Montag Paper Company. In the story, the character plans to start burning firemen's houses in order to challenge the government.
  • 1982: Alan Moore - V for Vendetta, the dystopian graphic novel of a fascist Britain is influenced by the story of Fawkes. The main character, V, wears a Guy Fawkes mask.
  • 1998: J. K. Rowling - Chamber of Secrets, the Harry Potter series school headmaster Dumbledore's phoenix is named Fawkes after Guy Fawkes.
  • 2005: V for Vendetta – film portraying some of the events of the Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot and replicating Alan Moore's graphic novel.

Guy Fawkes Poem

Procession of a guy
Procession of a Guy (1864)
(Guy Fawkes night at Chirk) (6302836170)
Children preparing for Guy Fawkes night celebrations (1954)

The Fifth of November

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England's overthrow.
But, by God's providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James's sake!
If you won't give me one,
I'll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

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