Why would a prisoner be forced to wear a mask of iron, be forbidden to speak to other prisoners and otherwise be treated so carefully and cruelly? You'd think that the prisoner would have to be someone like Hannibal Lecter, a danger to anyone in close proximity, but the truth may be quite different but just as terrible. Several historians are pointing at Eustache Dauger as the prisoner who wore the face of iron. A valet, Dauger's arrest is not very clear, but it sounds like the idea was to silence him rather than protect people from him.
Daugter worked as valet for a wealthy French minister who may have been stealing. Historians speculate that Dauger planned on speaking out against the minister and was punished with the Iron Mask as a result. Naturally rumors spread from there as guards and prisoners saw the mask. It's also likely that the mask was not made of iron but velvet!
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photo courtesy of Wikipedia