Colonialism in Braveheart

In: Film and Music

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Braveheart

Braveheart, directed by Mel Gibson, opens to the tunes of bagpipes while panning over the hills of Scotland. The narrator then begins setting the tone for the movie, telling of how King Longshanks has claimed Scotland’s throne for himself. We then meet the main character, William Wallace, as a child, just as mysterious violins begin to play and set the tone for the dead bodies, which are about to be found. At the end of the scene William’s brother and father leave William behind when to go to fight, they don’t return to him alive. This whole first segment sets up not the full story, but also allows for William’s character to develop and the audience to attach to him and sympathize with him. Within the first 15 minutes of the movie our main character has lost everything he knew to the English. While William watches his father and brother get buried, the main recurring song in the movie is heard for the first time. This song will play many times throughout the movie and connect William’s character back to his roots. To bid farewell to William’s family, some of the villagers are said to be playing “outlawed tunes on outlawed pipes (Braveheart).” This is the last we see of the child William Wallace. The film then cuts to the King of England, Edward the Longshanks. He is marrying his son to the princess of France. The King has been busy trying to form a way to gain full control over Scotland. First he suggests buying off the Scottish nobles, or maybe sending his own nobles to Scotland, but these ideas are both shot down by his advisors. The King then decides to reinstate the law, primae noctis, which allows the King’s magistrates to have sexual relations with a bride on the first night of begin married. King Longshanks is then heard saying, “breeding them out instead of chasing them out.” This is psychological colonialism at its worst. By having relations…...

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