William Wallace: The Man & The Myth

1407 words - 6 pages

For the most part, the History surrounding "Braveheart" is accurate, but there are several significant people and events which simply do not match up historically. After watching the movie and reviewing the history behind it, it becomes clear that Hollywood felt they needed to alter several things in order to make the film more entertaining to their viewers. It is interesting to compare the depiction of the characters and events portrayed in the movie to the actual history that surrounds them.The National Myth of Sir William Wallace is very interesting; just as interesting as the real Wallace. In a survey of the greatest Scots in history conducted by Who's Who in Scotland, Wallace polled 169 votes to take second place from Bruce with 161 votes, both well behind Robert Burns' runaway victory with 268 votes, but safely ahead of Walter Scott down in seventh place with sixty-three votes (Morton). The ease with which the Wallace story fits the core sociological framework of Scotland's national identity is plain enough. Wallace is a sure bet for civil society; though not noble by birth, he is more bound to be than anything else.The story behind the movie "Braveheart" focuses on the historic tale of Sir William Wallace of Elerslie, One of Scotland's greatest heroes. During the 12th century King Edward I of England, also known as Longshanks, ruled Scotland. After returning to his childhood home, William Wallace planned on becoming a farmer and raising a family. After English soldiers had murdered his wife however, his attention became focused on the English occupation of Scotland. United together with other Scottish warriors, Wallace decides to bypass negotiations and fight the English on his own terms (Clater-Roszak 12).William Wallace did indeed lead a rebellion against English occupation in 1296, and was victorious at the battle of Stirling Bridge and lost at Falkirk. After he was captured, he was tried and executed as shown in the film. Several other aspects of his life were not accurately depicted however. Wallace was portrayed as a poor man who was secretly married right before he got in trouble with the English. Actually, he was a commoner who was well educated, and if he wasn't involved with the war he may have been a scholar. All landed men were required to sign the Ragman Roll, which bound everyone who signed it in loyalty to England's King Edward I. Those who refused, like Wallace, were outlawed (William Wallace's...42). In response, Wallace and Andrew Moray organized other outlawed men into an army. Moray was killed at Stirling Bridge and was pretty much forgotten, he was not even mentioned in the film. This seems like a rather large oversight considering Moray was Wallace's co leader, and played a fairly large part in the early resistance. Wallace was involved in a romantic relationship, but he wasn't able to settle down because he was spending most of his adult life at war or in hiding. He was with her when the English discovered his hiding...

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