Literary Precedents for The Master of Ballantrae

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The phenomenon of brotherly antagonism is as old as the biblical Cain and Abel story. Also, the history of Scotland is rife with tales of families that were divided over the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745. Such familial conflict also reflects the famed intransigence of the Scottish temperament.

Further back in English literature, however, John Fletcher and Philip Massinger's play The Elder Brother (c.1637) deals with such a fraternal hostility, though in a considerably less violent manner than Stevenson does.

As to the whole subject of the 1715 and the 1745 uprisings, probably the nearest precedent (and very likely a strong influence) was Walter Scott, who treated the subject with remarkable objectivity in such works as Waverley (1814) and Rob Roy (1818). In accord with Scott's view, Stevenson appears to set forth the thematic truth that all combat, in howsoever good a cause, is fraught with danger and always costly (the same idea...

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This section contains 160 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy The Master of Ballantrae Short Guide
Copyrights
Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults
The Master of Ballantrae from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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