Sir Walter Scott Long Fiction Analysis
Waverley displays, at the start of Sir Walter Scott’s career as a novelist, many of the features that were to prove typical of his best work. In the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, he saw an instance of the conflict between the older feudal and chivalric order, strongly colored with heroic and “romantic” elements, and the newer order of more practical and realistic concerns that had already begun to supplant it. His focus is not on the great public figures whose fates are at stake, and this too is typical. The Pretender, Prince Charles Edward, is not introduced until the novel is more than half over, and most of the major events of this phase of his career are only alluded to, not presented directly. He is shown almost exclusively in his dealings with the fictional character for whom the novel is named, and largely through his eyes.
Edward Waverley, like so many of Scott’s heroes, is a predominantly passive character who finds himself caught between opposing forces and “wavering” between his loyalty to the House of Hanover and the attractions of the Stuart cause. Though his father occupies a post in the Whig ministry, he has been reared by his uncle Sir Everard, a Tory who had supported the earlier Jacobite rebellion of 1715, though not so actively as to incur reprisals when it was put down. His father’s connections procure Edward a commission in King George’s army, and he is posted to Scotland. Shortly...
(The entire section is 9068 words.)
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