Remembering William Wallace in Scotland during 1997

Ethel McKirdy-Walker

Abstract


To the Scots William Wallace has always been a popular figure. Even those with a limited knowledge of Scottish history were aware of some of his deeds; an awareness which was for the most part hidden in the recesses of the mind. In recent years with the growing desire in Scotland for more control over their own affairs, there has been an upsurge in interest in Scotland's past. These two strands of the same cloth were ironically drawn together by a film; a film whose central character, William Wallace, was portrayed by an Australian actor,l was made mostly in Ireland,2 and which became an instant success. It was a success not only for the film-makers and their backers, but also for that part of the Scottish psyche which was feeling battered and beaten after years of real or imagined neglect by the central government at Westminster. Braveheart, for that was the film, made the Scots laugh, made them feel a sense of pride and made them more determined than ever to have some say over their nation's affairs. Nobody, except the purists, worried that the film was not altogether historically correct.3

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