Character Evidence, Mediocrity, and Walter Scott’s Advocate-Narrator
European Romantic Review
Many of Walter Scott’s fictional plots engage with serious crimes like treason and the violent acts involved in dueling. This article examines how Scott’s narrators draw on contemporary conventions for treating persons accused of such crimes in the criminal courtroom, considering especially how the characters and scenes of the Waverley Novels are constructed and described in ways that emphasize protagonists’ lack of agency. Essentially, Scott’s legally savvy narrators function like expert defense attorneys in their delivery of exculpatory character evidence on behalf of his “mediocre heroes.” Passive, unambitious, and drawn along by the plot, these heroes become a character type ideally suited for denying malice aforethought and evading responsibility.
Kozaczka, Adam, "Character Evidence, Mediocrity, and Walter Scott’s Advocate-Narrator" (2020). Humanities Faculty Publications. 1.