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The Bride of Lammermoor

by Sir Walter Scott
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What is the setting and symbolism in The Bride of Lammermoor?  

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In common with most of Sir Walter Scott's historical novels, The Bride of Lammermoor is set in his native Scotland. To be precise, it's set in the Lammermuir Hills of southeast Scotland. Scott knew this part of the world particularly well. He lived not far from the Lammermuir Hills...

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In common with most of Sir Walter Scott's historical novels, The Bride of Lammermoor is set in his native Scotland. To be precise, it's set in the Lammermuir Hills of southeast Scotland. Scott knew this part of the world particularly well. He lived not far from the Lammermuir Hills on the large estate of Abbotsford House.

In the border country of Scott's imagination, violent, bloody feuds between individuals and clans were a regular occurrence. Edgar, Master of Ravenswood, initially vows a bloody vengeance on Sir William Ashton, the man who took over the title which had been stripped from Edgar's father because he supported the deposed King James VII.

As is made clear in one particularly striking passage, Edgar is following in an ancient family tradition by vowing revenge on his enemies. Back in the thirteenth century, one of Edgar's ancestors, a certain Malisius de Ravenswood, had carried out a brutal revenge on the man who'd taken his castle and lands.

The signal for the planned uprising against the usurper and his followers was the placing of a bull's head by Ravenswood on the castle's dining room table. Ravenswood had turned up to the castle banquet in disguise, and once he put the bull's head—a traditional symbol of death—on the table, it was time for his co-conspirators to spring into action and join him in killing the usurper and his followers.

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