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William Wallace

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by

David Neal

on 2 May 2011

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Transcript of William Wallace

William Wallace, the Scottish patriot, is one of the most legendary characaters in world history. His fight for independence and gruesome death have led to the creation of numerous poems, books, and movies, however, finding the truth about his life is a nearly impossible task... William Wallace was born into the Scottish gentry in the 1270s. Very little is known about his early years. But today he is remembered
as a legend... So what is responsible for
this transformation? Blind Harry wrote The Acts and Deeds of
Sir William Wallace, Knight of Elderslie,
one of the first known accounts of
Wallace in the early 15th century... This mythical tale depicted Wallace
as a super human warrior and described
numerous battles and victories now
considered purely fictitious... Over the centuries this depiction only became
more fantastic, catapulting William Wallace to
the level of a historical super hero... ...as well as literature with Jane Porter's classic historical
novel, The Scottish Chiefs, in 1810. In Porter's account Wallace is depicted as a strong Christian man, exemplifying devotion and the Victorian nobility so common in novels produced at this time. While important to his legendary status this nobility is a product of Wallace's legend, not historical accounts. Through the use of the vaguely historical Lady Marion as an allegorical symbol for Scotland Porter emphasises Wallace's selflessness and sacrifice. Porter's depiction goes as far as comparing Wallace's sacrifice to that of Jesus' on the cross in the Christian tradition. Porter's work played a key role
in shaping our modern conception
of William Wallace as a Christian
nobleman of impeccable character
and unparalleled resolve. ..and of his strong spiritual life, here
shown praying for Scotland. The Scotish Chiefs was later adapted
into a comic book that remained very
true to the original story... ..both in nobility,
depicted through
his clothing.. Later depictions of Wallace abandoned his
more noble and spiritual qualities stressing
his valor in battle and identity as a warrior. Braveheart, the epic 1995 film, and winner of the Best Picture of the year Award synthesized all previous depictions of William Wallace telling the story of a man who was noble but barbaric, invincible but tender, ruthless but compassionate.

Overall Braveheart propels William Wallace into the realm of myth and legend, as seen in this unforgettable speech before Wallace leads the Scotish into battle against their English oppressors. In this Novel Wallace was depicted as a
man tentative to enter the war for scottish idependence until the English brutally
murder his wife, Lady Marion. This depection became evident in art,
as shown in this famous 19th century
painting... The images of Braveheart as a lover, patriot, and freedom fighter are what stand out the clearest in the world's "memory" of this great hero. Through poems, comics, novels, and especially the movie Braveheart, which tied all of these avenues of memory together, William Wallace will forever be remembered as a hero and inspiration for all those fighting oppression.
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