The poem of course refers to Guy Fawkes and his now infamous plot to blow up London’s Houses of Parliament on November 5th 1605. Fawkes’s aim was to remove King James I from the throne, and restore Britain’s Catholic monarchy. Had he succeeded Guy Fawkes would have not only killed the entirety of London’s governing body, but also taken much of London and its citizens down with them. However, the plot was discovered by authorities and Guy Fawkes was arrested, tortured, tried, and executed. After that Guy Fawkes should have become a forgotten martyr or terrorist of history. And yet November 5th has become a recognized British holiday: Guy Fawkes Day.
Today Guy Fawkes is remembered by even more than just a November 5th holiday. The figure of Guy Fawkes has inspired Alan Moore’s novel V for Vendetta, a 2006 film with Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving, and the film’s distinct Guy Fawkes mask created by David Lloyd. In fact Guy Fawkes and his November 5thholiday, once only celebrated in England, has become an increasingly universal emblem used by antiestablishment protest groups throughout the international community.