" I shall tell you of William Wallace, historians from England will say I am a liar, but history was written from those who have hanged hero's "

William Wallace was born in Scotland around 1280 BC during times of great instability. The entire country was in chaos and conflict because of an evil tyrant known as Edward the Longshanks. Longshanks claimed the thrown and entire rule of England, including Scotland. Under his rein the towns were imprisoned with steep taxes and magistrates. Several of the commoners, William's father and brother included, opposed his rule and chose to take action. They set off into battle, never to return. William, left without a family, was heart broken. The day of his family's funeral, a majestic man arrived to take him away, Uncle Argil. Together they traveled on many journeys across the world, becoming true renaissance men. Many years later, William returned to his forgotten home with the intentions of starting a new life. It was here where he fell in love and married his beautiful wife, Marian. The day after the wedding, Marian was assaulted and killed by one of the king's soldiers. The outraged Wallace sought revenge, killing the solider and sparking a war against Longshanks. Wallace became known throughout Scotland as a patriot, fighting for his lost love and the freedom he never had. After many long and brutal battles William was captured, tortured, and killed. The cry of his death echoed around the world, and certainly on the battlefield. Soon after, his followers defeated Longshank's army and won there freedom.

Based on the movie and summary above, I have concluded that there are several social conflicts. The most influential being, the friction between Edward the Longshanks reign, and the commoners. This social problem effects not only the poor, but also the wealthy. Throughout the film the writers make reference to the hardships both classes must endure. For example, Wallace and his fellow commoners must live under the iron fist of Longshanks. On the contrary, the noble men must appease Edward by serving as his puppets. It was only a matter of time before this disharmony between classes could no longer last. At this point, Marian was introduced and killed, thus lighting the fuse for the revolution. Wallace, serving the writers as a solution to the problem, led the poverty-stricken farmers, derelicts, and noblemen through a war against the English. He took charge and won their freedom despite the unfavorable odds.

Aside from this major social conflict I discovered a smaller, more personal battle among Henry and Wallace. As the plot unfolded, I noticed the hatred between the two men fester. Henry did everything in his power, including betrayal, to stop Wallace from obtaining freedom. This in turn gave William a motivation from within to rally his underdog warriors. To better understand the resentment, the writers created a showdown between both leaders. In this showdown Wallace was tortured, mercy granted if he confessed his allegiance to the king. This is exactly what Longshanks wanted. To his surprise, William managed to scream "FREEDOM" from his deathbed, making him victorious.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the conflicts I can explore them from a sociologist point of view. A sociologist using the social conflict perspective would be best suited to analyze this movie. They would say the filmmakers did specific things to reinforce the conflict perspective. For example, " conflict theorists begin with the observation that societies are characterized by inequalities". In the movie there was a definite inequality among social classes. The relationship between the rich and the poor, where is the middle class? This disproportion caused the poor to revolt and start a war. Another strong point from a social conflict perspective is, " conflict is not necessarily bad for society since it is a source of social change." This is exactly what happened, social change. Because of the conflicting differences between Longsanks and the commoners, freedom was established. After all the battles took place, an ideal society was created. A society with " resources, rewards and opportunities " just like the "good" society to a conflict theorist.

A conflict theorist can study social relations at two levels, macro and micro. The above discussion would be categorized as a study done on the macro level. This basically means that it was looked at from a "broad, more abstract" way. This is different from the micro level in which the society is look at through "face-to-face human interaction". Knowing this, we can explore upon the second conflict, Longshanks Vs Wallace. From a micro level perspective, " individual actions that make up social life". The individual actions of William caused Edward to do everything in his power to stop the overthrow. In return, the individual actions of Longshanks gave William incentive, and motivation for his followers. Together this behavior changed society for the better.

In conclusion I can vehemently agree with the writers choice of the social perspective. They chose to make the movie like a true conflict theorist would have. For example, they added William Wallace as a solution to the social conflict between Henry the Longshanks, and the commoners. The writers also developed a strong resentment among Henry and William. This in turn allowed us to choose sides, making the conflict more believable.


" I shall tell u "--- Taken from the movie BRAVEHEART,

Copyright 1995 B.H. Finance CV

All the other quotes-- Taken from Living Sociology, pages {16 & 17}

Copyright1998 by Allen and Bacon

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