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What makes the final scenes of Braveheart so powerful?

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Introduction

What makes the final scenes of Braveheart so powerful? Film scripts are written in reverse so that everything we see at the end is led up to in the film itself. Braveheart, directed by its star, Mel Gibson, is a splendid example of this process. The last two scenes of the film show the public torture and the execution of William Wallace and the re-emergence of Scottish power as Robert the Bruce finally takes on Wallace's cause and leads the Scots to victory at the battle of Bannockburn. The film is based on historical fact but the truth has been distorted to make a more effective film. The execution sequence opens with a pair of dwarves entertaining the crowd with a mock execution. Mel Gibson included this scene to demonstrate to the audience that executions were a means of entertainment in the past. The crowd found the dwarves entertaining and laughed. The dwarves were trying to hide the fact that William Wallace was going to die. They tried to put William across as a traitor and as an object not a person. William was brought in on a cross just like Jesus was. ...read more.

Middle

Before we return to the torture itself we can see a close up of Edward Longshanks who is dying. In real historical fact this is inaccurate, Edward Longshanks died on 7th July 1307 whereas William died in 1305, two years before. Gibson has put this in the film because he wanted to add more interest to the story and show some sort of justice for William's death. The first torture to which Wallace is submitted is that of stretching, this involves raising him up by the neck and suspending him above the ground so that he can't breathe. Wallace is lucky to survive and the inquisitor tells him "Get to your knees and kiss the Royal emblem at the hem of my garment and you will die quickly." Wallace ignores the command. The camera is very close to see the reactions between them both. The next torture is racking. This is made to be even more painful than stretching but William still refuses to submit to the royal emblem. To emphasise Williams's bravery and steadfastness, Gibson shows us not only the reactions of his friends in the same crowd but also those of his English torturers. ...read more.

Conclusion

Wallace writhes in agony and Gibson once again cuts to Robert the Bruce. Robert the Bruce is an important part in the film because he was King of Scotland and he betrayed William previously in the film, but surprisingly helped him escape death from the English soldiers. Gibson wanted to show what Robert The Bruce was doing while William was being tortured because it was his fault the he was captured. Finally, in slow motion, Wallace is beheaded and as the axe is swung Gibson cut to both Williams's wife and the princess in separate scenes. The camera focuses on the piece of cloth held in Wallace's hand. It is the pledge, which Hurron gave him when they married. The pledge falls when the axe collides with Wallace's neck. This signifies that Wallace is dead and all his love and feelings have gone forever. The final scene of the film depicts the Scottish victory at Bannockburn some years later. This scene was included because it has a strong image that the Scottish kept on going even though Wallace had died. I think the final scenes in Braveheart are very powerful because they are showing the violent and bloody history of the Scottish people and it shows how badly the Scottish were treated by the English when they attempted to be free. 1 ...read more.

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