William The Conqueror: Hero Or Villain

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At age eight, he became duke of Normandy and on Christmas Day 30 years later, he was crowned King of England. He was born illegitimate son to Robert I, duke of Normandy, and was known as William the Bastard. He was the first of the Norman kings who ruled England and would help to change England’s social, political and physical landscape to become known as William the Conqueror. William the Conqueror was both hero and villain. He was a hero to those who followed him and villain to those who tried to stop his military invasions. William the Conqueror imposed a new aristocracy on England, had more influence on the English language than anyone before or since, and surveyed England in the Domesday Book to determine taxation (bio.com). …show more content…
At the young age of eight, William became the duke of Normandy after the untimely death of his father, Robert I. Because he was so young, the barons in Normandy were constantly trying to kill him in an effort to re-gain their control over the country. William survived and was formed and molded into the stark and ruthless ruler that he became to be known (englishmonarchs.co.uk). William was finally knighted in his teens and as his power grew in Normandy he was promised succession to the English thrown by the childless king of England, Edward the Confessor. But, upon Edward’s death, his powerful brother-in-law Harold Godwin claimed the thrown for himself. William felt betrayed and decided to invade England to claim what was promised to him. In the Battle of Hastings in 1066, he defeated Harold and was crowned king of England on Christmas Day (bio.com). William was a savage and formidable ruler, and by modern standards an exceedingly cruel one, but his methods produced the desired result and extinguished the fires of opposition (englishmonarchs.co.uk). To maintain control of England and suppress rebellions in the North, he united England through a campaign of terror and brutality (www.bbc.co.uk). He built castles throughout England and placed Norman barons in them to maintain control of the English Territory (lecture). The introduction of these skilled leaders is probably …show more content…
William the Conqueror is known as one of the most ruthless and cruel leaders, yet he was devout and inspired loyalty in his followers (englishmonarchs.co.uk). He used his powers of leadership and courage to build what is now a powerful and great country. His contributions to the establishment of the aristocracy in England and the English language are essentially the reason his name changed from William the Bastard to William the Conqueror. I agree with ___ in his quote that there are only people who do good things and those who do bad things but in the eyes of the people who fight the wars, a person will be known as either a hero or a villain. It just depends which side you are fighting for. In addition, sometimes to do good things a person, or country, must do bad things in order to gain control. In the words of Bertrand Russell, “War does not determine who is right-only who is

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