The the British contempt for the Scottish
The movie “Braveheart” is loosely based on the story of William Wallace, who is considered to be Scotland’s greatest patriot. Wallace led the Scottish resistance during the late middle ages. While the move is highly romanticized it gives a good portrayal of the Scottish resistance. Visually the movie immediately grabbed my attention and made me feel like I was in the middle ages. I was struck how dirty young William was. I wondered what it would be like to live in a time where a bath was a luxury. The farms houses seemed to be little more than hovels, even the lord’s manors seemed plain and poor.
The rich robes worn by the nobles really set them apart from the everyday man, and made me feel their power. The most powerful images in the movie were of the fighting. I felt like I was right there in the midst of it. It was gruesome, bloody, realistic and hard to watch.
The movie also touched on the tensions between the commoners and nobility. It showed how little freedom the serfs had. In one scene the nobles and commoners are on the field waiting to meet the English, and one of the soldiers motions over to the Scottish nobles and says he is not going to die for them.The movie portrays most of the Scottish nobles as being as greedy and self centered as the British. It does a good job of showing how politics were conducted in the middle ages.
It also showed the British contempt for the Scottish and Irish people. “Braveheart” is definitely shows bias toward the Scottish view point. It didn’t attempt at all to show the British viewpoint. It depicts King Edward the 1st as an evil and heartless man, who unjustly claims Scotland as part of his territory.
It shows King Edward as a liar, luring the Scottish noble men into an ambush, while pretending to negotiate. While King Edward was an intemperate man, he was not the evil man portrayed in this film. In many ways he was a good king, although somewhat brutal in his treatment of Scotland. To Scotland William Wallace was a hero, who never gave in to English dominance. To the English he was an outlaw who committed atrocities against England. The movie portrayed him as a man of peace, who only started fighting after his wife’s murder at the hands of the English Sherriff.In the movie The English soldiers try to rape his wife.
When he comes to her aid they try to arrest them. He gets away, but she is caught and killed for insurrection against the English sheriff. This never happened, but it does show how unjust the feudal system was, where the serfs had no power against the sheriffs and Lords. Until the Magna Carta was signed by King John, Sheriffs could imprison, or take away a man’s property without witnesses. The film also showed the reaction of the common people to beheadings in the middle ages.It was treated as entertainment, where even children would come and watch. I’m not sure if the Wallace’s disembowelment was actually done in public.
I do know that he was hanged, taken down alive and disemboweled and castrated while still alive. I would hope that the children were not actually a witness to that part of it. I think that this is a good film for students to watch to get an ideal of feudal life, and politics. They should be careful to realize that it is a bias and romanticized view of the Scottish conflict.