The 1995 movie Braveheart depicts the heart-churning story of Sir William Wallace, a Scottish Warrior who taught every Scot that freedom is pivotal to live a healthy ordinary life. Highly propounded as Mel Gibbson’s masterpiece is a saga of never-fading Patriotism, loyalty, friendship, eternal love, and yearning told in a classical narrative style. But, even after twenty-six years since the movie’s release, the viewers are confused about a few things. So, here’s a little guide for understanding it better.
Timeline Of Braveheart (1995)
The movie is supposed to have taken place in late 13th century Scotland. The movie’s timeline is confusing because the settlements and the face paint belong to the neolithic era, and the weapons are from the early medieval period. Braveheart took inspiration from Blind Harry’s 15th-century epic poem, ‘The Actes and Deidis of the illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace.‘ Thus, filmmakers didn’t have comprehensive details of the way of life, so despite being a late 13th-century movie, it doesn’t give much insight into the culture and society of England and Scotland at that time.
The movie is correct about the date of execution of Sir William Wallace, which is August 23, 1305. The last voice-over narrates: “In the year of our Lord 1314, patriots of Scotland- starving and outnumbered – charged the fields of Bannockburn. They fought like warrior poets; they fought like Scotsmen and won their freedom.” Therefore, the victory of the Scots over England is historically accurate in the movie.
Why Are Women Raped On The First Night Of Their Marriage In Braveheart?
The fictional blockbuster had everything to move the heartstrings of the viewers. The Law of Prima Nocta, enforced by The King of England, Edward Longshanks, did an outstanding job to reflect the plight of the Scots. According to Longshanks, this was to breed the Scots out instead of fighting them out. He said, ” The problem with Scotland is it’s full of Scots.”
Prima Nocta was the privilege of the English nobles to sleep with a woman on the first night of her marriage.
Why Did Willam Wallace And Murron MacClannough Marry Secretly?
In the movie Braveheart, William Wallace went with his uncle after his father and brother died. He had his education there, spoke multiple languages, and learned swordplay while keeping the thistle that Murron gave him close to his heart. On his return, we see an instant development of love between them as Wallace says, “Because every single day I thought about you.” There were mainly two reasons for them to get married in secret. First, Wallace had this dream of living a quiet and peaceful life with his wife and children. For this, he was ready to go to any lengths. Wallace was reluctant to stand against the English because he refused Campbell’s offer to join the secret meeting. Probably, this was because he wanted to lay low. Secondly, he married Murron in secret to save her from Prima Nocta. When he meets Queen Isabella, he tells her, ” She was my wife. We married in secret because I will not share her with an English lord.”
Why Does William Wallace Kneel?
William Wallace was a man with a heart full of love and compassion. The movie scenes when he kneels highlight both the purity and plight of his character. William Wallace kneels at two instances:
First, at Murron’s funeral, Wallace kneels and submits before Murron’s father because he’s the man he had deeply hurt.
Second, in the forest in his dream, he sees Murron; paralyzed by his emotions of love and yearning for Murron, he kneels. He kneels to ask her to take him with her.
William never kneels when he’s asked to beg for mercy at the time of his execution. But does it to show his guilt, sorrow, and love. Maybe this shows why he was revered more kingly than the actual heir to the throne.
Why Do The Scots Start Chanting “MacAulish” After Their First Victory?
Wallaces avenges the death of his wife, Murron MacClannough. He took out the very first garrison from the English soldiers and assumed the position of their leader. The enthralled Scots started chanting “MacAulish” after their first victory. The Scottish surname beginning with ‘Mac’ means ‘son of…’ Therefore, “MacAulish” means the son of Wallace. They were chanting “MacAulish” for mainly these reasons:
- As a sign of their trust and belief in Wallace, who gave them hope that they could hold a firm ground against the insurmountable oppressors. In the movie, the English army was unconquerable. But, Wallace’s techniques were a perfect blend of brain and brawn, and with the help of these, he secured his little conquest over the English. This instilled courage among the Scots.
- The chanting was also used as a device by the moviemakers to ignite the emotions of the audience. After a series of losses that Wallace suffered, this was his first victory. So, the chanting delivered the right audio and visual impact required by the scene.
William Wallace’s Friends And Foes
The themes of loyalty, friendship, and betrayal wring our hearts out throughout the movie. The betrayal scenes are played beautifully. Let’s briefly know Wallace’s friends who turned foes:
Who was Wallace’s foe, Faudron or Stephen?
Some new men join William to aid them in the war. Among them were the Fraudron and Stephen. While the former looked trustworthy and devoted to Wallace’s cause the latter took everyone aback by acting crazy and pointing a knife at Campbell’s throat.
Later, when Wallace was hunting a deer, he spots Stephen sprinting towards him to attack. But, William was shocked to realize that Stephen was shielding him from the sly Fraudron’s attack. Stephen also jokes that “I didn’t like him anyway. He wasn’t right in the head.” In the end, Stephens turned out to be a friend who stood with him till the end.
Robert The Bruce’s Betrayal
Before the Battle of Falkirk, Wallace tried to gather forces to stand against The English. He even tried to speak some sense into Robert by saying that, He wishes that Robert would have the courage to be the new King of Scotland. But, Robert was under the influence of his father, who was the current King of Scotland. His father was against the rebellion and wanted Scotland to stay as a vassal under England.
William was devastated by the betrayal of Robert and the other Nobles, as they didn’t show up in the war. William then decides to kill Longshanks himself but he’s interrupted by a lancer who turns out to be Robert. Robert then saves William from the English. Thus, the Battle of Falkirk ended with grave results for the Scots.
Why Did Queen Isabella Help William Wallace?
Despite being the wife of the future heir to the throne, Queen Isabella did everything she could to help Willaim Wallace. She might have the following reasons to help William Wallace:
- She knew that Longshanks was sick and was going to die soon. She was aware that her husband was incapable of being the emperor of such a large empire. Edward couldn’t even fight old and frail Longshanks when he pushed Phillip down from the tower.
- Let’s forget about love, Edward didn’t even share basic empathy with his wife, Isabella. He was more worried about his lover Phillip’s clothes than the war.
- Isabella was influenced by the legends of William Wallace narrated by her attending lady. She was smitten by Wallace after their first meeting. Later, when Wallace asks her why she’s helping him, she also confesses her love for him.
- Isabella became aware of the King’s shitty policies. She came to know the truth that the “talks” were a medium to execute those who dared to raise a voice. She also knew that the King sent her as a mediator only to make her a scapegoat.
Throughout the movie, Isabella’s character was shining strong as she remained in the righteous light. She even made sure that the King doesn’t get a peaceful death as she tells him that she’s carrying the child of Wallace in her womb. She even told the King that she’ll make sure that the child gets the throne of England.
William Wallace’s Execution
Robert was suffering from guilt after he betrayed William in the Battle of Falkirk. So, he sets up a meeting with Wallace in Edinburg. But, Robert’s father and other Scottish nobles connived to capture William and handed him over to the English.
In England, he was dragged, hanged, disemboweled, and finally beheaded.
This scene was of cinematographic brilliance. The crowd crying for Mercy, William groaning in pain yet not uttering the words to ask them to show some sympathy, then his final words “Freedom” echo on the screen as the memory of Murron falls from his hands gives chills to every viewer watching it.
Braveheart, after 26 years from its release, is still a gem in the cinematographic world. The performance and perfect dialogue delivery of the actors stirs every possible emotion among the audience. What else do we want from a fictional movie?! But, if we are looking for historical accuracy we surely are going to get disappointed. Let’s say it’s not right with facts because it’s a fictional movie and not a documentary.