Galilei from Galileo and Wallace from Braveheart

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Galilei and WallaceHeroes or Zeroes

Wallace and Galilei; Heroes or Zeroes?

In the play Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, the main character Galileo Galilei, is forced to recant and turn on his ideals for the sake of his life. The little monk warned Galileo before he divulged his findings, that they could be disastrous to the metaphysical order of society. Peasants, working classes, the religious right, all of humanities concept of the world would be shattered.

In the movie Braveheart, a similar situation is evident. Mel Gibson plays William Wallace, a Scottish peasant under the rule of England. English soldiers kill his wife and father, and he sparks a revolt against England. After assembling a small band of soldiers, he turns to the nobles of Scotland and their armies for help. But through his rage, the metaphysical order of the ones around him is destroyed.

“If we join, we can win. If we win, well, we’ll have what we’ve never had before; a country of our own.”

(Wallace, speaking to Robert the Bruce, a high noble. 1:20, BH)

At first he gets it, but then support for Wallace by the nobles is waned by offers of land and money by the King of England. The Nobles do not want to risk their land and power in Scotland, nor do their troops want to risk their lives and their families. So, Wallace is deserted and betrayed a number of times by his fellow countrymen because they will not let their metaphysical order be destroyed. They see Wallace as having a blinding rage, with a score to settle. They do not believe that they can actually achieve freedom from England, and they are not prepared to give up everything on the evidence they have at hand.

“We will not sacrifice our families, our lands, our lives, for your notion of something we have never known. The English our too many, and if I swear to you, can you guarantee me freedom? No.”

(Scottish peasant, talking to Wallace, speaking for his clan. 1:58, BH)

Wallace was fighting for his concrete beliefs and ideals. Although it was sparked by the murder of his wife and father. He was prepared to be a martyr, although all he really wanted was to have a family and a farm. He was willing to give his life for the future of his country, which says something about his character. He was finally betrayed again and handed over to the throne to be tortured and killed.

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