Which historical figure’s likeness is on the masks worn in the 2006 film V for Vendetta, and subsequently by many anti-government protestors?

And the answer: Guy Fawkes.
Photo credit: public domain.

Remember, remember: the film’s main character uses a mask of Guy Fawkes’ likeness to conceal his identity. The lesser-known origins of the holiday Guy Fawkes’ Night involve an attempt to overthrow King James I. However, Guy Fawkes wasn’t the mastermind behind it all—he guarded the explosives kept in the cellar under the House of Lords where the king and members of Parliament planned to gather on November 5th, 1605.      

November 5, 1605 was a day of major historical importance in the UK, and a day that is remembered and celebrated still today—you may know it as Guy Fawkes Night, Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night, Fireworks Night, Gunpowder Treason Day, or Gunpowder Day. It’s clear that no one can decide what time of day is best suited for this important UK national holiday, but that hasn’t stopped the displays of fireworks and bonfires lighting up the night sky each year on November 5th, to celebrate the perseverance of the British monarchy.

The history of Guy Fawkes Night began when Guy Fawkes was arrested while guarding explosives placed beneath the House of Lords. The assassins had intended to take out Protestant King James I, as well his parliament, with a powerful bomb placed beneath the building—but Fawkes was caught red-handed, shutting the operation down. Celebrating that the King had survived, people lit bonfires around London, and months later, the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of giving thanks for the plot's failure.

Did you know?

Yesterday, November 5th, was Guy Fawkes Night! Interestingly, although Guy Fawkes has historically been known as a notorious traitor, he is now portrayed in some circles as a revolutionary hero. This is largely due to the influence of the 1980s graphic novel and subsequent 2005 movie, V for Vendetta, which depicted a protagonist who wore a Guy Fawkes mask while battling a future fascist government in Britain.

Learn more about the significance of this day here.

Question of the Day Mobile App


Learn something new everyday. Get the Question of the Day delivered to your inbox each day!

You've successfully subscribed to Question of the Day
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Question of the Day
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.