Comment On Brave Heart English Literature Essay

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Brave Heart is an inspiring epic movie. One of the factors that attracts most people is the heroism of the protagonist in the movie, but while the heroism is traced back to its origin, it can be said this heroism is not born but "compelled". The protagonist is not a born hero but a "compelled" one. Thus it is called "compelled" heroism. This paper mainly concentrates on the causes of this "compelled" heroism, and it is explored layer by layer in the following text.

Key words: Brave Heart, "compelled" heroism, tyrannical, revolt, freedom

The movie Brave Heart was set in the Scottish national independence movement against English in the thirteenth century and early fourteenth century. The protagonist, William Wallace, is a Scottish national hero who led the Scottish people to fight against the tyrannical regime of English for freedom. His heroism inspired many people to bleed with him. Though he was beheaded at last by English king, in his spirit, Scottish people finally won their independence. Nevertheless, this heroism was not born but "compelled". William Wallace did not want to be a hero at the very beginning, and what made him a hero was the situations he was faced with. To fight against the tyrannical regime was the only choice he had, so he was "compelled" to do so and be a national hero with this "compelled" heroism.

According to Webster on line dictionaryï‚‚, the word "heroism" means heroic conduct especially as exhibited in fulfilling a high purpose or attaining a noble end. "compelled", correspondently, means to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure. When the two words are combined, "compelled" heroism" means such kind of heroic conduct that is caused to do. Simply speaking, this heroic conduct is not intended but caused to be done. In the movie, the protagonist William Wallace is such a "compelled" hero with "compelled" heroism.

In order to analyze this "compelled" heroism, first, it is necessary to explore where it came from, then the origins of the heroism will prove it to be "compelled", namely the "compelled" heroism. There are mainly four factors that contribute to this heroism: the hatred about his father's death, the love towards his wife Murron, the loathing of the tyrannical regime of English, and the eager for national freedom.

First, the hatred about Wallace's father's death shocked and saddened him much. When Wallace was still a little boy, his father was deceived and killed in a battle between the English and their clan, leaving little Wallace an orphan. Wallace became grieved and helpless, but he could do nothing at that time. Though his father was gone, he once taught little Wallace that it was our wits that made us man. Little Wallace remembered that, and always tried to fight with wits later. Then his uncle came and took him to live with him. During this time, Wallace travelled and learned cultural knowledge and martial arts. It was his father's and uncle's teachings that made Wallace a potential hero in the future, but he was not and did not want to be a hero at all at that time. Wallace could not choose his birth and identity, so he was "compelled" to accept his fate at the very beginning. He was a potential "compelled" hero after his birth.

Second, the love towards his wife Murron made him brave and fearless. Murron was Wallace's childhood sweatheart. After Wallace grew up, he came back to the small town where he was born, and married Murron secretly, because at that time, under the regime of English, the English nobles in Scottish had the right of primae noctics over the bride. One day, Murron was offended and killed by English soldiers, which caused Scottish people's sealed anger and revolt against English. Wallace, of course, fought first and became the leader of the revolting army. Nevertheless, Wallace did not want to revolt at all when he came back home, because he said" I came back home to raise crops, and, God willing, a family. If I can live in peace, I will." What made him revolt against the English was his deep love towards his wife Murron. This time, Wallace could not stand any more, and his anger finally broke out. Again, Wallace was "compelled" to fight and be a hero.

Third, the loathing of the tyrannical regime of English became the target of the revolt. At that time, England was in the Gorse Flower Dynasty era. When Edward was in power, he adopted atrocious high-pressure means to control Scottland. His rule was tyrannical and inhuman. England's brutal domination caused a number of massacres. Eventually, noble farmers in Scottland took up arms to fight against England. William Wallace was the famous representative. The death of Murron was just a powderhose of the revolt, and Wallace's later fight against English sublimated, not only for the revenge for Murron, but also for the destroying of the tyrannical regime of English. Wallace at this time was "compelled" to lead his countrymen to the final success of this revolt.

Fourth, the eager for national freedom was everlasting. At the moment Wallace was heheaded, he used all his strength to shout"freedom..." Freedom for all his countrymen! When Wallace and his men started the revolt, they were doomed to go on a road of no return. After his being beheading, his head was set on the London bridge, his body torn into pieces to send to the four corners of Britain as a warning, but William Wallace never yielded to tyranny and gave up freedom. He used his life to explain what freedom truly was. Though Wallace was killed tragically and did not lead his men to win the final success of freedom, later, Scottish people united and continued to fight for their national freedom. It was in Wallace's spirit of heroism that the Scottish people won their freedom. As a national hero, Wallace was "compelled" again to die for the freedom they pursued, and this time, his heroism was sublimated, not only "compelled", but also willing.

In brief, after reviewing Wallace's heroic story, we can draw the conclusion that Wallace was a hero who was "compelled" but finally willing to fight for the freedom of all Scottish people. So this heroism was ""compelled"" from the causes of it.That is "compelled" heroism.


Brave Heart is an epic movie directed and acted by Mel Gibson. The stars are Mel Gibson and Sophie Marceau.