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The Cinematic Portrayal of Scottish Hero William Wallace in 'Braveheart', 'William Wallace' and 'A Scottish History'


Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Cho, Naan
Term Paper, Medieval History Class, June 2010



Note : A High School Freshmen's Term Paper; Edition still in Progress

Table of Contents


I. Introduction
II. Medieval Scotland
II.1 Scotland in the Early Middle Ages
II.2 Scotland in the Later Middle Ages
II.3 Fight over the throne of Scotland and the start of Edward I's intervention
II.4 Bishop Wishart and his relationship with William Wallace
III. William Wallace
III.1 How William Wallace is differently portrayed in movies and documentaries
III.2 Criticism of Blind Harry's poem where most of Wallace's history stems
III.3 How differently the blanks of Wallace's life are filled up
IV. Evaluation
IV.1 The movie, 'Braveheart'
IV.2 The documentary
IV.3 The documentary
V. Inaccuracies in 'Braveheart'
V.1 Inaccurate dating
V.1.1 The year of Alexander ¥²'s death
V.1.2 Marriage of Edward ¥± and Isabella princess of France
V.2 Discords between Blind Harry's poem and 'Braveheart'
V.2.1 The names of William's brothers
V.2.2 Death of William's father and the start of William as a rebel
V.2.3 Murder of the sheriff of Clydesdale and massacre at the garrison in Lanark
V.3 Murder of the sheriff of Clydesdale and massacre at the garrison in Lanark
V.3.1 'Jus primae noctis'
V.3.2 The Battle of Stirling Bridge
VI. Other observations of the movie 'Braveheart'
VI.1 Bagpipes and what they mean to the Scottish people
VI.2 Houses in Scotland during the late 13th century
VI.3 The thistle and its meaning in the movie
VI.4 The traditional dress of Scotland, the Kilt
VII. Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography



I. Introduction
            William Wallace, undoubtedly the most famous Scottish patriot of all, is a figure whose life is obscured through the passage of time. This paper will mainly focus on how differently William Wallace is portrayed in movies and documentaries since there is no agreement on what is the truth apart from a few scant details. Firstly, a brief explanation of the time period William Wallace first appeared in history shall be given since it is important to understand the circumstances that led Wallace to become a leader for Scottish independence. Then, the writer will explain about her own analysis of how differently Wallace is portrayed in movies and documentaries and point out the necessity of viewing Wallace's life from various perspectives. Moreover, critical opinions of Blind Harry's "The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace"' regarding its exaggerations and inaccuracies, which is where most of Wallace's history stems from, shall be given. Then, evaluations of three quite different portrayals of Wallace shall be given: the movie 'Braveheart', the documentary 'A History of Scotland: Episode 2', and the documentary 'William Wallace: A True Story'. After evaluating these three different portrayals of Wallace, the writer will point out certain inaccuracies in the movie 'Braveheart' since it is important to distinguish historical facts and fictional elements that are the products of the director's imagination in a movie. Finally, some observations of the Scottish culture that can be seen in the movie 'Braveheart' shall be given.

II. Medieval Scotland

II.1 Scotland in the Early Middle Ages
            Studies of Scotland in the early middle ages largely rely on archaeological evidence. Only a few written documents exist; therefore, the history of medieval Scotland until 900 A.D. remains largely veiled. The most significant event during this period is the expansion of Christianity. By the end of the seventh century all four kingdoms of Alban had been converted to Christianity. However, they were still far from being united among themselves politically and it was not until the ninth century that some measure of unity was finally achieved.

II.2 Scotland in the Late Middle Ages
            This paper will mainly focus on the later middle ages which starts from the death of Alexander the third. Alexander the third launched his first raids against the Hebrides when he was scarcely more than a boy and eventually signed a peace with Magnus, king of Norway, under which the Hebrides now became part of Scotland. The remainder of Alexander's reign was both prosperous and peaceful. He married Margaret, the daughter of the English King Henry ¥² and secured peace with both England and Norway. Meanwhile, trade improved, the revenue increased, law and order were maintained, education prospered with certain limits, more domestic and ecclesiastical building was done, and for most people life became much better than it had been. Eventually, by 1286 the Kingdom of Scotland had political boundaries that closely resembled those of modern Scotland (1). Tuesday, 19 March 1286 changed the course of history and Scotland confronted a sequence of events that threatened the country's freedom. Alexander the third held a council in Edinburgh Castle (2} on 19 March. The hour was late and a storm was brewing when the banquet ended. Alexander's advisers urged him to remain at the castle and return next day but he ignored their counsels and set off to return to his residence at Kinghorn (3). He left Edinburgh Castle with an escort of three esquires and two local guides. However, he was separated from them in a howling gale and a pitch black night. He took a wrong turning and ended up on the cliffs of Pettycur and his body was found with his neck broken the following day among the rocks at the cliffs (4). The death of Alexander III put Scotland in great danger as a fight over the throne of Scotland began to emerge.

II.3 Fight over the throne of Scotland and the start of Edward I's intervention
            A form of provisional government was set up in which six custodes pacis(Guardians of the Peace) were appointed. Among these six Guardians were two earls, Alexander Comyn of Buchan and Duncan of Fife; two barons, James the Steward and John Comyn of Badenoch; and two bishops, Robert Wishart of Glasgow and Wiliam Fraser of St. Andrews. The important point regarding the selection of these people as guardians was that none of the people who were selected as guardians were serious contenders for the throne of Scotland. Peace was temporarily retained until the rightful heir of the throne Margaret, the maid of Norway, died on the voyage from Norway to Orkney. With the lack of a rightful heir, disrupt for the throne of Scotland bursted out. Among the competitors were Robert Bruce, the son of Robert de Bruce, and John Balliol, the younger son of the Lady Devorgilla. As the two fought each other over the crown, Edward I, descended from the Angevins who had a long reputation for evil-doing, pagan practices and witchcraft began to stretch his hand towards the Scottish borders. He summoned an assembly of Scottish nobles and clergy to Norham and unfolded his plans to rule over Scotland. According to the chronicler Walter of Hemingburgh, Dominican provincial William de Hotham drew up a statement that was read to the Scots. The statement claimed that England had always held the lordship of Scotland and that Edward himself should be regarded as Lord Paramount of Scotland. A few days later he summoned Robert Bruce, John Balliol, John Comyn along with other nobles and all of them acknowledged Edward as their Lord Superior. Balliol and Bruce acknowledged Edward's superiority and acquiesced in Edward's demand that English forces take over the castles and other strong points in Scotland. However, there was an important figure who resisted Edward's continuous intervention and his claim as the Lord Superior: Bishop Wishart (5).

II.4 Bishop Wishart and his Relationship with William Wallace
            Bishop Wishart who was one of the six guardians of Scotland was an important figure who consistently resisted Edward's claim as the Lord of Scotland and asserted that he never owed homage to him. Even before William Wallace made his appearance, Wishart was among the early leaders who were against English occupation. Wishart pointed out that the kingdom of Scotland is not held in tribute or homage to anyone save God alone when Edward insisted that he be recognized as Lord Paramount of Scotland prior to giving decision in the matter. However the significance of Bishop Wishart lies in his relationship with William Wallace. According to the Lanercost Chronicle (6), it was Bishop Wishart, along with James Stewart, the High Steward of Scotland, who had triggered Wallace into action; a fact frequently overlooked by people who regard Wallace as a hero who was motivated by his own passion for his country.

III. William Wallace

III.1 How William Wallace is differently portrayed in movies and documentaries
            Little of Wallace's life has been confirmed and still large parts of his life remain veiled. Blind Harry's "The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace'" is full of prejudices and praises of Wallace where Harry seems to have relied more on oral traditions and his own thoughts instead of historical facts. Moreover, a lot of the contents inside his poem contradict themselves; for example, Harry writes that William and a lady named Marion pledged themselves to each other and agreed for William to take her as a bride after he freed his country. Elsewhere in the poem however, Harry says that William married Marion and that she bore him a daughter who married a squire named Shaw. Thus, Blind Harry's poems cannot be a reliable source since it consists of many anachronisms, dating errors and exaggerations. Furthermore, the information regarding Wallace's life in historical documents such as the histories of John Major, Hector Boece, Wyntoun and Fordun rarely correspond; thus, the life of William Wallace remains as mysterious as ever. His exact motivation for participating in the Scottish Wars of Independence remains uncertain; it could be his passion for his country, revenge against the people who killed his dear wife or stimulation by Bishop Wishart. The first two possibilities are the most frequently portrayed motivations since it makes Wallace appear like a true patriot and gentlemen which is the way most Scottish think about him. The movie 'Braveheart', for example, portrays Wallace as a hero who killed the Sheriff of Clydesdale in order to retaliate against the killing of his wife. Below is an excerpt from Blind Harry's "The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace" ' where the murder of Wallace's wife and Wallace's revenge is described.


      And thought'st thou, traitor,"fierce the hero cried,
      "When by thy murd'ring steel she cruel died;
      When thy fell hand her precious blood did spill,
      Wallace though absent, would be absent still?"
      Furious he spoke, and rising on the foe,
      Full on his head discharg'd the pond'rous blow;
      Down sinks the felon headlong to the ground,
      The guilty soul flew trembling through the wound. . . . (7)

            The movie even adds a pint of imagination of the princess of France who is the wife of Prince Edward, son of Edward I, falling in love with Wallace after hearing how much of a gentlemen he is. This is, of course, a mere fictional element in order to exaggerate how Wallace was of a true gentleman. Looking upon these facts, it becomes clear that 'Braveheart' portrays Wallace from a very biased perspective which regards Wallace as a hero full of passion and love. Since a movie is made to entertain and capture the attention of the viewers, it would have been inevitable to a certain degree for the director to slightly distort the historical facts and incorporate as many scenes as possible that would emphasize Wallace's heroic features. However, if one only views these biased portrayals of William Wallace, he or she may be in the danger of regarding William Wallace beyond what he actually was. Therefore, when viewing biased portrayals of William Wallace-and most of the movies and documentaries about him are extremely biased-that over-emphasize his passion, love and loyalty, one should be able to view it from a critical perspective and discriminate which one is fiction and which one is fact. Discriminating what is true and what is false regarding the life of William Wallace is a tough task since, aforementioned, reliable historical documents that write about the life of Wallace do not exist. However, one would be able to gain a better insight of how to consider William Wallace by looking at other less biased portrayals of William Wallace.
            Although many documentaries of William Wallace are to a certain degree biased, a documentary titled 'A History of Scotland', made by BBC and narrated by historian Neil Oliver, views Wallace from a rather objective and neutral perspective. While 'Braveheart' portrays Wallace as a hero who began to stand against England's lordship over Scotland due to his own motivations, 'A History of Scotland' portrays Wallace as a product of the situation. It describes Wallace as a figure prodded by Bishop Wishart who wanted this man to buy him some time. He is not the William Wallace who stood against England because of his overflowing patriotism and deep love for his wife; he is the William Wallace who was marked out for his popular touch and therefore, could be used to buy some time for the Scottish nobles who were against Edward's reign over Scotland. The perspective of the latter considers Wallace less of a hero than the former and is a viewpoint that is frequently neglected by the Scottish since the feeling they have towards Wallace corresponds to the perspective of the former.
            Another documentary titled 'William Wallace: A true story' portrays Wallace from the perspective of the former, but tries to be more objective than 'Braveheart'. The documentary tries to view Wallace from a neutral perspective but it has its limits; Wallace's longing for freedom is greatly exaggerated and his features as a true Scottish patriot are emphasized. In conclusion, it can be seen that the portrayal of William Wallace differs from movie to movie and from documentary to documentary. Therefore, in order to gain a deeper understanding of William Wallace whose life is a combination of fact and myth, one should be able to view his life from various perspectives.

III.2 Criticism of Blind Harry's poem where most of Wallace's history stems
            Aforementioned, Wallace's life remains as mysterious as ever since the historical documents that write about his life do not correspond to each other. Moreover, the information about Wallace's life that can be obtained from these historical documents is to a certain extent biased.
            The most well known historical document that writes about the life of William Wallace would be Blind Harry's The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace. It is through Blind Harry's poem that much of William Wallace's history stems. Blind Harry the minstrel (8) wrote a lengthy poem of the acts and deeds of William Wallace approximately 150 years after his execution in the year of 1305. Titled 'The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir', the poem was only second to the bible in Scottish homes and is still the main source where historians obtain most of their information about this Scottish patriot. It has passed through countless editions starting from the edition in the year of 1570 which is currently preserved in the British museum. It consists of nine volumes altogether and provides vivid images of the life of William Wallace. Harry claims that he derived information about William Wallace from the compiles written by John Blair who was Wallace's old friend and chaplain (9). However, the existence of John Blair's writings about William Wallace is uncertain since none of them have been found yet (10). Consequently, Harry might have used this as a device in order to show his readers the credibility of his work. Even if they had existed, Blind Harry would have not followed what Blair had written and instead would have largely relied on oral traditions, legends and his own thoughts towards this Scottish patriot since he writes about the legendary aspects of William Wallace that are obviously fictional, exaggerates Wallace's heroic feats and praises how much of a hero William Wallace was. Moreover, Blind Harry's writings of Wallace's life are extremely jumbled up that it seems that Blind Harry did not know what he was writing about in certain parts; for example, Harry writes that William and a lady named Marion pledged themselves to each other and that both agreed for William to take her as a bride after he freed his country. Elsewhere in the poem however, Harry says that William married Marion and that she bore him a daughter who married a squire named Shaw. These kind of inaccuracies frequently show up in Blind Harry's poem which makes it less reliable. Furthermore, he emphasizes the heroic deeds of William Wallace by writing about legendary battles that never existed. The first battle is the Battle of Biggar (11). Blind Harry writes that Edward's massive army of 60,000 and Wallace's army of 3000 horses and men clashed in Biggar. According to Harry, the result was Wallace's victory due to his wit and courage but no such fight occurred in Biggar. Moreover, Harry writes that Wallace had cleared Scotland of hated Englishmen on the eve of his betrayal. However, this is also a fictional element used by Harry to mark out William Wallace's courage and patriotism since Wallace was a fugitive before the day he was caught by the English.
            Conclusively, it can be explicitly seen that Blind Harry's poem is very biased; it considers William Wallace as a true Scottish patriot who retained all the heroic features that motivated him to stand against the English. In order to describe how much of a hero William Wallace was, Blind Harry frequently includes his own thoughts about Wallace, legend and oral traditions that cannot be considered as reliable sources. Thus, his poem has the right to be criticized since he should have obtained information about William Wallace from reliable sources and kept a neutral stance towards this patriot. Historical documents that have overflowing fictional elements and are consisted of information that is obtained from unreliable sources have to be read with a critical eye. Thus, Blind Harry's poem should be read meticulously with the reader checking whether the information that Blind Harry writes about is confirmed in other sources. Despite the countless inaccuracies in Blind Harry's poem, the poem has triggered the hearts of the Scottish for centuries and motivated many Scottish poets of writing patriotic poems. For example, Robert Burns took the title of his infamous 'Scots Wha Hae,' which shouts for the independence of Scotland from Blind Harry. Apart from Blind Harry's poem, a certain amount of information about William Wallace can be obtained from other sources such as Wyntoun's (13) poems, Scotichronicon (14) and the writings by John Major. However, since all of them were written after Wallace's life, their accessibility to the truth of Wallace's life remains unknown.

III.3 How differently the blanks of Wallace's life are filled up
            By looking at where the information of William Wallace is obtained from, one can see that there is no agreement on what is the truth apart from a few scant details. This is why Wallace's life remains as obscured and mysterious as ever; therefore, when making movies or documentaries about him, it is the director's job of how to cover the consistent blanks in his life. If the director's objective of making the movie or documentary were to entertain or emphasize the heroic deeds of Wallace, he or she would fill it in with fictional elements that would mark out Wallace's heroic features. On the contrary, if the director's objective were to view Wallace from a neutral perspective and take the environment that surrounded him into consideration, he or she would fill the blanks with less biased information obtained from reliable sources about William Wallace. Therefore, this is why portrayals of William Wallace differ from movie to movie and from documentary to documentary as mentioned before. In the next part of this paper, evaluations of these differing portrayals of William Wallace shall be given.

IV. Evaluation

IV.1 The movie, 'Braveheart'
            Like typical Hollywood films, 'Braveheart' does not follow the historical timeline and it even does not keep to the scant truth of Wallace's life. Therefore, it has a lot of inaccuracies and retains a large amount of fictional elements that are used as devices to emphasize Wallace's heroic features. With so much space to cover in Wallace's life since so little is known, the movie incorporated legend and imagination as much as possible to fill in those blanks. Therefore, the audience should be able to view the movie from a critical perspective, trying to discriminate which is true and which is the product of the director's imagination.
            The movie seems to have put in a huge effort to portray William Wallace as a hero with gentlemanlike features. In the movie, Wallace even captures the heart of the princess of France by his gentlemanlike features while, in reality, Isabella, the princess of France married Edward II two and a half years after Wallace's death. Isabella being attracted to Wallace and helping him out of tight spots are products of the director's imagination in order to emphasize Wallace as both a patriot and a gentleman. The director would have wanted Wallace to appear as a gentleman since it would be able to capture the female audience. Moreover, the movie portrays Wallace as the only leader in these times of Scottish resistance against England's reign. Therefore, it intentionally omitted Andrew Moray, Wallace's companion, in the scene of the battle of Stirling Bridge. History has that Moray and Wallace were both leaders of the Scottish army and Andrew Moray died after fighting hard to win over the English. However, this fact has been neglected in 'Braveheart' in order to portray Wallace as the sole leader and patriot during the Scottish Wars of Independence. In other words, the movie focused too much on emphasizing the greatness of Wallace's patriotic deeds that it completely neglected the existence of a man who was as much of a patriot as Wallace. However, in another point of view, it would have been inevitable for the director to focus only on Wallace since the movie was made to show the heroic features of Wallace. Therefore, the audience should bear in mind that there was another hero than Wallace who was just as much of a patriot as he had been. Nonetheless, the movie has the right to be criticized of elevating the status of Wallace to an excessive extent. Another problematic feature of 'Braveheart' is that it strived too hard to create a Scottish atmosphere. For instance, in the movie, young William lives in the mountains with his father and the scenery of the Scottish Highlands is beautifully shot; however, William spent most of his life in the Scottish lowlands. It appears that the movie intentionally shot the scenes in the Scottish highlands since the huge mountain ranges would make the viewer gasp at its ineffable beauty and the mist covering the lochs (15) would make the viewer marvel at its pristine scenery. Additionally, in the scene of the battle of Stirling Bridge, Wallace's army is wearing kilts and they lift them up in order to insult the English army. However, the kilts that we know now appeared in the 16th century. Moreover, if a primitive form of kilts existed in Wallace's day, they would have only been worn by highlanders. Therefore, it can be seen that there are certain visual features in the movie that were intended to impress the audience by creating a Scottish atmosphere.
            In conclusion, 'Braveheart' has consistent inaccuracies regarding the historical timeline, focuses too much on elevating the status of Wallace as a patriot and gentlemen and retains certain visual features that were intended to impress the audience. Therefore, from a historical point of view, 'Braveheart' is a movie that has to be criticized since it leans too much on imagination in order to captivate the audience.

IV.2 The documentary
            While most movies and documentaries portraying the life of William Wallace are biased and mainly focus on elevating the status of William Wallace as the true patriot of Scotland, this documentary , made by BBC and narrated by historian Neil Oliver, maintains a neutral perspective on how to view William Wallace. Instead of portraying him as a true patriot who was motivated by his own personal stimulations to resist the English, the documentary portrays Wallace as a spontaneous product of the situation where Scotland needed a leader who would be the figure that represented the resisting forces of Scotland. Consequently, the documentary portrays Wallace less of a hero than the other movies or documentaries. It intentionally omits anything about Wallace that has not been sufficiently confirmed; for instance, the documentary only explains that Wallace had killed a sheriff in Lanark and does not say a single word about his revenge for his wife's death. Instead, the documentary gives a sufficient explanation about the battle of Stirling Bridge since this battle is recorded and confirmed in many historical documents. This is a very original approach since previous documentaries tended to focus on the heroic deeds of William Wallace whether they were corroborated or not. This original approach was possible since the documentary was made by the Scottish archaeologist and historian, Neil Oliver who had deeper insight into the life of William Wallace and how he should be portrayed. Thus, this documentary is marked out by its original approach of how to view William Wallace from a neutral perspective and this is where the value of this documentary lies.

IV.3 The documentary
            Like most of the documentaries that portray the life of William Wallace, this documentary is not far away from portraying Wallace as a Scottish patriot who longed for the freedom of his country more than anyone else although the documentary tried to maintain a neutral stance by omitting the parts of Wallace's life that had not been sufficiently confirmed. Although, it portrays Wallace from a less subjective point of view than the movie 'Braveheart', it has its limits. William shouting for freedom in his trial is not quite different from the last scene of 'Braveheart' and is frequently shown in the documentary in order to show the viewers how much of a patriot he was. Moreover, it seems that the purpose of this documentary was to show the patriotism of the Scottish by giving Wallace as an example instead of accurately portraying Wallace's life since the flag of Scotland was shown frequently and the playing of the bagpipes was used as the background music. Therefore, this documentary does not convey accurate information as much as the documentary, nor does it maintain an original approach of viewing William Wallace.

V. Inaccuracies in 'Braveheart'
            As mentioned above, there are lots of inaccuracies in 'Braveheart'; therefore, the ones that are of importance shall be explained as follows.

V.1 Inaccurate dating

V.1.1 The year of Alexander ¥²'s death
            The movie starts in the year of 1280 A.D. and the narrator goes on to explain that the king of Scotland had died without a son and that King Edward of England and the nobles of Scotland were fighting over the throne. However, the year 1280 A.D. appears to be incorrect since Alexander ¥² of Scotland died in the year of 1286. He fell from his horse during his ride from his meeting at Edinburgh castle to Kinghorn on March 19th, 1286 A.D. which is a day all Scottish people remember as the day when their mighty and powerful king died. Therefore, the correct date should be 1286 A.D.

V.1.2 Marriage of Edward ¥± and Isabella princess of France
            Many years after William Wallace's father and brother's death, the marriage between Edward Longshanks' son, Edward II and the princess of France is shown in the movie. In 'Braveheart', their marriage is said to have taken place in London. However, Edward II married Isabella of France in Boulogne (16), on 25 January 1308. Both were crowned in Westminster abbey (17) in the same year on 25 February. Therefore, the place where they were married is mistaken in the film 'Braveheart'. Moreover, while Edward Longshanks supervises their wedding in 'Braveheart', he actually died in the year of 1307, a year before they were married. (18) Therefore, the writer thinks that this discordance was intended by the director in order to create a love line between the princess of France and William Wallace which would make the movie more interesting and attractive.

V.2 Discords between Blind Harry's poem and 'Braveheart'
            Even though it is said that the script of 'Braveheart' was written with Blind Harry's poem as the main source, there are many discordances between the poem and the movie.

V.2.1 The names of William's brothers
            The father of William Wallace is said to be Malcolm Wallace and his older brother is said to be John Wallace in the movie. However, Blind Harry writes in his poem that William Wallace had an older brother named Malcolm Wallace and a younger brother named John Wallace. Therefore, the name of William Wallace's older brother does not correspond in 'Braveheart' and Blind Harry's poem and his younger brother does not even exist in 'Braveheart'.

V.2.2 Death of William's father and the start of William as a rebel
            In 'Braveheart', William Wallace's father and his fellow comrades attack English soldiers to revenge for what they had done to the Scottish nobles. In this fight, William's father and brother die which places William under the protection of his uncle Argyle. However, Blind Harry writes in his poem that Sir Malcolm Wallace was slain during a fight with an English soldier in the year 1291 around Loudoun Hill. (19) William was at least nineteen at this time since a number of historians agree that he was born around the year of 1278 when examining Blind Harry's poems, Scotichronicon and Wyntoun's poems. This discords with 'Braveheart' since William appears to be a young boy when his father dies. Furthermore, Blind Harry writes that William won over the English soldiers at Loudoun Hill seven years after his father's death and killed the English general Fenwick who had taken his father's life (20). Thus, while the life of William Wallace as the leader of a rebel against the English started soon after his father's death, William appears as a young boy when his father dies and thus starts a rebel years after his father's death in 'Braveheart'. In this film, William Wallace departs the place he lived with his father and brother (21) and goes to live with his uncle Argyle. However, it is regarded as a legend that William lived with his uncle, who was a clergyman, in Dunipace. (22) Moreover, if he had lived with his uncle, he would have been older judging by the various historical documents that write about his childhood. (23)

V.2.3 Murder of the sheriff of Clydesdale and massacre at the garrison in Lanark (24)
            Blind Harry implies that Wallace and Marion got married. In the sixth volume he starts his poem by,

      I HAN passit was wtast off Feuirjher,
      And part off Marche off rycht degestioune ;
      Apperyd than the last month off wer,
      The syng off somir with his suet sessoun.
      Be that Wallace off Dundaff maid him baune
      His leyff he tuk, and to Gilbank can fair. (25)

            This part of the poem shows that Wallace left Dundaff and made his way south to Gilbank heavily disguised in order to visit Marion. Blind Harry indicates that they got married this time and Marion was soon to have a baby. Wallace went to Lanark heavily disguised since he was an outlaw before his marriage with Marion. Her house was at the foot of the high street which currently is the site where St Nicholas Church and the statue of Wallace are located. According to Blind Harry, the soldiers in command of Sir William Heselrig, Sheriff of Clydesdale attacked Wallace's group of men who were walking down the streets of Lanark. William and his group of men escaped to Marion's house and managed to flee which greatly infuriated Heselrig who murdered Marion in his anger. Below is the part in Blind Harry's poem where the death of Marion is portrayed.

      And thought'st thou, traitor," fierce the hero cried,
      "When by thy murd'ring steel she cruel died;
      When thy fell hand her precious blood did spill,
      Wallace though absent, would be absent still?"
      Furious he spoke, and rising on the foe,
      Full on his head discharg'd the pond'rous blow;
      Down sinks the felon headlong to the ground,
      The guilty soul flew trembling through the wound. . . . (26)

            It can be seen that what led Marion to her death is different in Blind Harry's poem compared to 'Braveheart'. William, maddened by Marion's death, attacks the city of Lanark and murders the Sheriff of Clydesdale. This incident is one of the most significant events of William's life since it is corroborated in other sources. At William's life in the year of 1305, the first specific charge against him was his murder of the Sheriff of Clydesdale. Therefore, it can be seen that his murder of an English sheriff and the massacre of the garrison at Lanark would have catched the eyes of the English since it had the danger of triggering a nationwide rebellion. (27) This is also shown in the movie where Robert the Bruce says to his father that a rebellion has begun. Therefore, this incident could be regarded as William's first explicit appearance in history which triggered a nationwide rebellion against the English.

V.3 Other inaccuracies

V.3.1 'Jus primae noctis'
            In 'Braveheart', Edward Longshanks re-institutes the old custom, 'primae noctis' in order to empty Scotland with the 'Scots'. He invokes this custom in order to soothe the nobles who are already taxed by their lands in France; thus, the nobles would still be in favor of conquering Scotland despite the taxes. Though this may sound likely, it never happened in the course of history.
            'Droit de seigneur' is a term synonymous to 'Jus primae noctis' which means 'the lord's right'. More specifically, 'Just primae noctis' indicates that the lord has the right to take the virginity of the women on the first night of their marriage. However, there is no certain evidence that this practice was taken out during the middle ages. Despite its frequent appearance in literature and oral traditions, the actual existence of this practice has been widely disputed. The origin of this popular idea is difficult to trace, but historians assume that it first appeared in Herodotus's writings about the tribe of the 'Adyrmachidae' in distant ancient Libya. Although the existence of this practice in the middle ages is uncertain, there is a vast number of cultural references that indicate 'primae noctis', including Edward Longshank's invoking of this custom in 'Braveheart'. (28)

V.3.2 The Battle of Stirling Bridge
            This scene is one of the most problematic scenes in the movie; while the bridge played an important part in the victory of the Scottish, no bridge appears in the scene of the battle of Stirling Bridge. The process of the battle went as the following in reality. The small bridge at Stirling was only broad enough to allow two horsemen to cross abreast. The Scots deployed in a commanding position dominating the soft, flat ground to the north of the river. Cressingham, King Edward's treasurer in Scotland, was anxious to avoid any unnecessary expense in prolonging the war and he persuaded the Earl to order a direct attack across the bridge. The Scots waited as the English knights and infantry made their slow progress across the bridge on 11 September. Wallace and Murray's hold over their men was firm. They had held back earlier in the day when many of the English and Welsh archers had crossed, only to be recalled because de Warenne had overslept. The two commanders now waited, according to the Chronicle of Hemingburgh, until as many of the enemy had come over as they believed they could overcome. When the vanguard, comprising 5,400 English and Welsh infantry plus several hundred cavalry, had crossed the Bridge, the attack was ordered. The Scots spearmen came down from the high ground in rapid advance towards Stirling Bridge, quickly seizing control of the English bridgehead. De Warenne's vanguard was now cut off from the rest of the army and Wallace's army was able to crush England's scattered forces. (29) Thus, it can be seen that the scene of the battle of Stirling Bridge is inaccurate, although this battle is of utmost importance.

VI. Other observations of the movie 'Braveheart

VI.1 Bagpipes and what they mean to the Scottish people
            The instrument that is used to play the background music in 'Braveheart' is the bagpipe. Aforementioned, James Horner, the composer who produced the OST of 'Braveheart', is well known for his incorporation of traditional Scottish instruments. Among the various types of bagpipes, the type of bagpipe that is used to play the background music in 'Braveheart' is the uilleann bagpipe instead of the Great Highland Bagpipe which originally developed in the Scottish highlands, hence the name. The reason why the uilleann bagpipe was used instead of the Great Highland Bagpipe was because of its wide range of tunes and relatively sweet and quiet sound; these features of the uilleann bagpipe make it capable of playing modern music. Despite the variety of the types of bagpipes, all bagpipes have a minimum set of a bag, a drone, a chanter and an air supply. The air is pumped inside the bag through the blowpipe and air is preserved and regulated effectively inside the bag. The chanter is the melody pipe and since it is open-ended, it is difficult to stop it from making sounds. The drones usually lie over the shoulder but this varies from region to region. The reason why the uilleann pipe has a wider range of tunes is because its chanter has a range of two octaves and has a different harmonic structure. The uilleann bagpipes are played indoors while the Great Highland Bagpipes are usually played outdoors. Furthermore, while the uilleann pipes are played sitting down, the Great Highland Bagpipes are played standing up. The Great Highland Bagpipe is undoubtedly, the most famous bagpipe worldwide and this was a result of the expansion of the British Empire which had military forces consisting of the people from the Highlands. Thus, the Great Highland Bagpipe became synonymous with the modern day term 'bagpipe'. The Scottish people take pride in the Great Highland Bagpipe and regard it as a national symbol. This can be seen in the movie 'Braveheart' when the Scottish people play outlawed tunes on outlawed bagpipes during Malcom Wallace (William's Wallace's father) and John Wallace's (William Wallace's brother) funeral. Whether or not bagpipes were outlawed at this time is uncertain and there seems to be an incongruity between Blind Harry's account and 'Braveheart'.

VI.2 Houses in Scotland during the late 13th century
            It can be observed in the movie that the houses which were built in Scotland during the 13th century were quite primitive. Although written historical documents of how Scottish people lived during this period do not sufficiently exist, certain documentary evidence indicates that most were wattle and daub. Wattle and daub is a building material that has been used for thousands of years and is still an important material in various parts of the world. A panel of wooden strips, called the 'wattle' is daubed with materials that consist of clay, soil, sand, straw and animal dung. It is a prevalent building material in various regions for its low cost and sufficient availability of materials. However, wattle and daub is vulnerable to dampness which makes it rot and as a result, attract insects such as beetles. The abundance of wood in Scotland seems to have made wattle and daub the most accessible and convenient building material for the Scottish people during the 13th century. Moreover, since the climate of Scotland is relatively dry for the heavy winds that blow the raindrops away, dampness was not an impediment for the Scottish people using wattle and daub. However, it appears that major towns such as Aberdeen or Glasgow had houses made of stones during the 13th century. (30)

VI.3 The thistle and its meaning in the movie
            After Malcolm and John's funeral, Marion (31) gives William a thistle which has an important meaning in the movie. The thistle is the floral emblem of Scotland. An ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character, the thistle is the symbol of the Order of the Thistle. (32) Legend has that a viking stepped on a thistle one night and drew the Scottish soldiers' attention. Whether the legend is right or wrong, the thistle remains as the national flower of Scotland and is found in many Scottish symbols and is the name of many Scottish football teams. The prickles of the thistle is said to symbolize the strong and sharp determinations of the Scots and is featured in the song 'The Thistle o' Scotland'. (33) What the thistle means to the Scottish can be seen in the name of a chapel in Edinburg: The Thistle Chapel. The Thistle Chapel is probably the most interesting part of St. Giles and is the meeting place of the Knights of the Thistle. The true function of St. Giles is that of a Christian church, its main business being the services that are held there on a regular basis. Although parish of St. Giles is very small, a congregation of just under 800 communications drawn from all over Edinburgh, attends such services. (34)
            As the national flower of Scotland, Marion giving William a thistle after the funeral symbolizes that William will become a true patriot of Scotland when he grows up. The prickles of the thistle symbolize William's strong and sharp determinations for freedom and shows that he will fight against the English who meddle with the Scottish people. The writer believes that the usage of the thistle instead of any other flower was an excellent choice since the scene was able to move the hearts of the Scottish people effectively.

VI.4 The traditional dress of Scotland, the Kilt
            The attire that the actors are wearing in the movie is the traditional dress of Scotland, the kilt. However, the kilt appeared in the 16th century as the great kilt which is a full-length garment whose upper half could be worn as a cloak draped over the shoulder. Therefore, during the time of William Wallace-the 13th century-Scottish men would not have worn the great kilt that we know now. They may have probably worn kilts of a primitive style; however, it is certain that the standard attire of those days was not the kilt that we know now. It seems that the director made the actors wear the kilt in order to capture the eyes of the audience and create a more authentic Scottish atmosphere.
            The kilt is a knee length attire that is often made of wool in a tartan pattern. There are many types of kilt such as the Scottish kilt, the Irish kilt and variants of the Scottish kilt in other celtic countries. However, the most preeminent is undoubtedly the Scottish kilt which is unique in its style and convention. It is a garment that is worn around the waist and covers the body down to the centre of the knee. The overlapping layers in front are called 'aprons' and a kilt pin is fastened to the front apron in order to increase the weight. One of the most distinctive features of the Scottish kilt is the tartan pattern, the sett. Tartan is a kind of twill, a distinctive diagonal-weave pattern in the fabric, where it is woven according to a certain sett or colour pattern. Since Roman times, Scots have worn plaids of tartan and visiting or invading commentators referred to their checkered patterns, or setts. At first, tartans only belonged to chiefs who had vegetable dyed with multicolored grid patterns. Then, ordinary people began to use this sett in order to distinguish their home district or their clan which was handy in the confusion of a raid or skirmish. The tartan kilt was adopted throughout Scotland as a Jacobite (35) symbol after the Jacobite times and was strictly outlawed after the Battle of Culloden (36). The ban was lifted in 1782, and Sir Walter Scott's (37)promotion made tartan become high fashion during the 19th century. This spontaneously led to the adoption of the highland kilt as a symbol of national identity by Scottish highlanders and lowlanders (38). The heavier weights for kilts are usually worn in cooler weather and the lighter weights are appropriate for warmer weather or highland dancing. Traditionally, men do not wear underwear beneath kilts and it is commonly accepted that a 'true Scotsman' should not wear underwear. This is shown in the movie in the battle scene of Stirling bridge where William's army lift up their kilts to insult the English army. (39)

VII. Conclusion
            This paper has mainly focused on how differently the consistent blanks of Wallace's life were filled in. By approaching to the essence of this matter, the writer has given her own evaluations of three quite different portrayals of William Wallace.
            All of the above discussions bring us to the fact that history is frequently distorted due to commercial purposes as in the movie ¡®Braveheart¡¯. Even though historical movies are burdened with the responsibility to portray actual historical scenes to the audience, they often distort the crucial facts and add pints of imagination in order to sketch a more drastic and attentive scene. This applies to ¡®Braveheart¡¯ and as we have seen in the above, there are countless inaccuracies in this movie that make the audience susceptible towards thinking William Wallace as a heroic patriot. Even though there are consistent blanks in William Wallace¡¯s life along with only a few details that have been confirmed by historians, ¡®Braveheart¡¯ has filled Wallace¡¯s life from his childhood to his death with numerous facts and has succeeded in making them seem like the truth. Therefore, it has the right to be criticized from a historical point of view although it may have been to a certain degree inevitable for the director to add pints of his imagination to the movie in order to capture the audience¡¯s attention.
            Along with ¡®Braveheart¡¯, we have also looked at other sources that have portrayed Wallace¡¯s life in a quite different manner than that of ¡®Braveheart¡¯. The documentary ¡®A Scottish History¡¯ has sketched Wallace¡¯s life using only the scant details that have been confirmed. Thus, it maintains an objective manner towards William Wallace by portraying him as a spontaneous product of the historical situation. Instead of outlining Wallace as a true heroic patriot who was self motivated to fight for Scotland¡¯s independence, this documentary portrays him as a natural product of the situation that Scotland had confronted. Thus, the uniqueness of this documentary lies in the fact that it tried to sketch the life of William Wallace using only the details that had been generally confirmed and that it tried to draw Wallace as a spontaneous product of the situation. On the contrary, the other documentary ¡®William Wallace¡¯ is more biased than the documentary ¡®A Scottish History¡¯. Unlike the latter which put a lot of effort into maintaining an objective stance, the former seemed to be trying to trigger patriotism by frequently showing the flag of Scotland and showing scenes where Wallace kept shouting for the independence of Scotland. Thus, it is more subjective than the latter although it tries to maintain a more objective stance than the movie ¡®Braveheart¡¯ by including less fictional elements of Wallace¡¯s life that are rejected by historians these days.
            Conclusively, history can be plainly defined as the study of the past or a story of recorded events in chronological order. Whatever one defines it, the most important fact is that it should seek the ¡®truth¡¯ or ¡®fact.¡¯ If so, the task of a person who is burdened with the responsibility of dealing with a historical figure is to correctly show who he or she was; otherwise, that person could become a liar.


Notes
           
(1)      MacLean 1993, p. 33.
(2)      Edinburgh castle is one of the most important fortresses in Scotland and has been the center of Scottish history. It is built on the extinct volcano Castle Rock and the statue of Robert the Bruce stands in its entrance. Many of the country's records and treasures that were inside Edinburgh castle were removed to England when Edward Longshanks was on the throne.
(3)      Kinghorn is a city in Fife that is known well for Alexander III's deathplace. The name 'Kinghorn' derives from the Gaelic, 'head of the muddy ground' or the more romantic 'blue headland'.
(4)      MacKay 2007, pp. 33-34.
(5)      MacKay 2007, pp. 33-34.
(6)      The Lanercost Chronicle covers the Wars of Scottish Independence from the years of 1201 to 1346. It not only provides information about the Wars of Scottish Independence but also helps retain an insight into 13th century Scottish and English life.
(7)      Blind Harry, (1570) 1828, sixth volume (online edition).
(8)      A minstrel is a singer or a musician who travelled around to entertain nobles during the Middle ages. The term 'minstrel' is derived from the French word menestrel which has its root in the Latin word ministerium or ministerialis.
(9)      A chaplain is a member of the Christian clergy who does religious work in places such as the army or a hospital.
(10)      Article: Blind Harry from Wikipedia.
(11)      A town twelve and a half miles southeast from Lanark and twenty eight miles southeast from Edinburgh. Great improvements have been made to the town during the past few decades that it has grown from a barren land to a fertile one. Although the Battle of Biggar never took place, the people of Biggar believe that William Wallace once veraciously fought the English and won over them. There are oral traditions and legends in the town of Biggar that are about Wallace winning Edward's army.
(12)      A poet revered by the Scottish people and regarded as the national psyche. He had a gift for writing poems about the nation's heros, politicians and the rich. The Scottish celebrate his birthday by eating haggis and turnips. This kind of supper eaten on Burns' birthday is called 'Burns Night Supper'.
(13)      Andrew of Wyntoun (1350 ? 1423) was a Scottish poet. His is well known for his chronicle of the history of Scotland which he wrote at the request of his patron. The eight original manuscripts of this chronicle exist until now and remain as a valuable historical source.
(14)      The Scotichronicon is regarded as one of the most important medieval chronicles of early Scottish history. Written in the 15th century by Walter Bower, it is a continuation of John of Fordun's chronicle, 'Chronic Gentis Scotorum'. Bower wrote it from 1440 to 1447, reorganizing John of Fordun's chronicle along with his own data into 16 volumes.
(15)      This name for a body of water is Goidelic in origin and is applied to most lakes in Scotland and to many sea inlets in the west and north of Scotland.
(16)      Boulogne-sur-Mer is a city situated in the northern part of France. During the Roman Empire, the name Boulogne was first recorded as Bononia which is a derivative of the Celtic word bona. 'Sur mer' means 'on the sea' in French. The city served as the major port by connecting the rest of the empire to Britain and this town was used as a base for the Roman invasion of Britain by the emperor Claudius. In the middle ages, the area was frequently fought over by the French and the English.
(17)      A large mainly Gothic church, Westminster Abbey is in Westminster, London, England. It is the traditional place for coronation; King Edward's Chair, which is housed within the Abbey and has been used at every coronation since 1308, is the throne on which British sovereigns are seated at the moment of coronation, Westminster has been the traditional burial site and has been the third seat of learning in England, after Oxford and Cambridge since the 19th century.
(18)      Article: Edward II from Wikipedia.
(19)      Loudon Hill is a volcanic plug near the River Irvine and has been a site of human occupation for centuries. A mound in the east side of Loudoun Hill is 'Wallace's grave' which is actually a grave of the English soldiers who died there. Opposite 'Wallace's grave', there is the 'Spirit of Scotland': the monument of William Wallace. Erected in the year of 2004, the monument, which Scottish people take pride in, is a famous site for visitors.
(20)      This battle is now regarded as unhistorical. Harry included battles that were orally created during the passage of time.
(21)      It is widely accepted that William Wallace was born in Elderslie, a village in Renfrewshire. The village has a rich history and there now stands a monument for Sir William Wallace on the site of the Elderslie Castle. The people of Elderslie take pride in their village as it is the birthplace of the great patriot, William Wallace and many celebrations commemorating this famous Scottish patriot are taken out.
(22)      Dunipace is a village in Stirlingshire which lies between the two major cities of Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is situated on River Carron and is mainly a residential area. Legend has that Sir William Wallace lived with his uncle in Dunipace who was the cleric at the chapel of Cambuskenneth Abbey.
(23)      MacKay 2007, pp. 60-61.
(24)      Lanark is located at the central belt of Scotland and has served as an important market town since medieval times. One of the churches in the town bears the name of The Old Church of St Kentigern who set up many medieval churches in the Scottish Lowlands and died in the year of 612 AD. The church bell of St. Nicolas' Parish Church which stands at the bottom of the high street is believed to date from 1110, and may be one of the oldest church bells in the world. There is an 8-foot statue of William Wallace in the steeple. Since 2005, the town has held a festival to honour Wallace's memory every August which has grown into the largest history festival in northern Britain.
(25)      Blind Harry, (1570) 1828, sixth volume (online edition).
(26)      Blind Harry, (1570) 1828, sixth volume (online edition).
(27)      MacKay 2007, pp. 111-114.
(28)      Article: Prima Nocte from Wikipedia.
(29)      Article: Battle of Stirling Bridge from Wikipedia.
(30)      Article: Wattle and daub from Wikipedia.
(31)      In 'Braveheart' her name is 'Murron' but various historical documents write that her name is 'Marion'. She later becomes William's wife and it is her death that leads William to start a rebel against the English in the movie.
(32)      An ancient order of chivalry, Legend has that Achaius established the Order of the Thistle in the year 786. The motto of the order is Nemo me impune lacessit (Latin for 'No one provokes me with impunity'). Additionally, there is a tradition that Robert the Bruce reestablished the order after his victory in the Battle of Bannockburn but no reliable documentary evidence confirms this.
(33)      An ancient order of chivalry, Legend has that Achaius established the Order of the Thistle in the year 786. The motto of the order is Nemo me impune lacessit (Latin for 'No one provokes me with impunity'). Additionally, there is a tradition that Robert the Bruce reestablished the order after his victory in the Battle of Bannockburn but no reliable documentary evidence confirms this.
(34)      Campbell 2004, pp. 31-32.
(35)      Jacobite Risings, occurring between 1688 and 1746, were a series of uprisings, rebellions, and wars in the British Isles. Every Jacobite rising had its own unique features but they were all uniformly aimed at restoring the Stuart kings to the thrones of Scotland and England. After James VII of Scotland and II of England were deposed by Parliament during the Glorious Revolution, Jacobite risings occurred in order to restore the House of Stuart to the throne. The series of conflicts takes its name from Jacobus which is the Latin form of James.
(36)      The Battle of Culloden in 1746 is the battle when Charles Edward Stuart, the leader of the last Jacobite rebellion was soundly defeated. After the defeat, all hope of restoring the House of Stewart back to the throne was diminished.
(37)      Sir Walter Scott(1771-1832) is undoubtedly Scotland's best known and most influential novelist. He was passionately attached to Jacobite, Highland, and Border history and legend. His poetical collection 'The Border Minstrelsy' sparked huge interest and his Waverly series of novels(Waverly, Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Heart of Midlothian) popularized Scottish legend. The 19th century revival of the interest of the Scottish in tartans, kilts and Scottish music was largely due to Sir Walter Scott's influence. It is said that his finances were always in poor shape despite his fame and success. This great Scotsman who restored the Scottish pride in the hearts of the Scottish now lies buried in Drybugh Abbey.
(38)      Somerville 2007, p. 317.
(39)      Article: Scottish tartans - Scotland clan's heritage from Scotland On Line.


Bibliography The following websites were visited in May 2010

Movies
1.      Braveheart
2.      A History of Scotland, Episode 2
3.      William Wallace

Books and Websites
3.      Fitzroy MacLean, Scotland: A Concise History, London, Second edition, Thames and Hudson (1970) 1995.
4.      Article: Wattle and daub, from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wattle_and_daub
5.      Article: Stirling Bridge, from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_Bridge
6.      James MacKay, William Wallace, Edinburgh, Mainstream (1995) 2007 .
7.      Article: Prima Nocte, from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prima_Nocte
8.      Christopher Somerville, Traveler: Great Britain, National Geographic, 2007.

9.      Article: Edward II, from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_II
10.      Digital copy of Blind Harry's The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace from the InternetArchive, http://www.archive.org/stream/actisanddeidisi00moirgoog/actisanddeidisi00moirgoog_djvu.txt
11.      Article: Thistle from, Encyclopaedia Britannica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/592707/thistle
12.      Donald Campbell, Cities of the Imagination: Edinburgh, Interlink Books, 2004
13.      Article: Scottish tartans - Scotland's clan heritage from Scotland On Line http://www.tartans.scotland.net/tartan_types/index.cfm.htm





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