Waverley is peppered with references to Shakespeare. Of particular interest are those to the history plays. Therefore, I think it is worthwhile looking in some detail at the exchange between the Baron and Colonel Talbot on the subject of heraldry which takes place at the wedding (Chapter seventy-first). 

While I acknowledge my obligation to you, sir, for the restoration of the badge of our family, I cannot but marvel that you have nowhere established your own crest, whilk is, I believe, a mastive, anciently called a talbot; as the poet has it, 

A talbot strong, a sturdy tyke.
At least such a dog is the crest of the martial and renowned Earls of Shrewsbury, to whom your family are probably blood relations.'
'I believe', said the Colonel, smiling, 'our dogs are whelps of the same litter: for my part, if crests were to dispute precedence, I should be apt to let them, as proverb says, "fight dog, fight bear.'

Scott's renowned obsession with everything military - the art of war - might make this exchange appear an esoteric conversation, more in tune with the Baron's eccentricity than anything indicating a profound political issue. However, in Waverley, Talbot appears to be the narrator's ideologue: Talbot is the resolute, firm Englishman, whose stoicism, courage, and dedication to duty erode Waverley's self-confidence and dampen his adventurous spirit; a process which culminates in the realisation that his real place in life is not with the Jacobites but with the Hanoverians. Talbot might appear to be a father figure to Edward, illustrating through his resolution how a man ought to behave. 


Moreover Talbot comes to represent national values. His sturdy, practical nature, for example, contrasts with Waverley's wavering personality and his flighty dreams of the Chevalier and his followers. The naming of Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, throws us back to Shakespeare, for 'valiant Talbot' is the brave warrior who has inherited the characteristics of the quintessential English warrior, Henry V, whose son is a weak, feeble-minded monarch. Shakespeare is particularly hard on Henry VI for his determination to marry for love, or affection or desire rather than for political reasons and the furtherance of the state. Machiavellian Prince Hal was much more forthright, declaring to Catherine, 'I love France so well I will not part with a village of it, I will have it all mine.. (5.2.169-170). Union is here is actually annexation, the result of England imposing its will over the conquered nation. This is brought out in the gender roles: the seed of the virile Henry/England will be implanted in the womb of the fertile Catherine/France.


In a similar fashion, I think it is mistaken to argue that the marriage or union in Waverley fits easily within the framework of marriage or love or romance. As soon as you start to remove the veneer of romance between Rose and Waverley, it becomes clear that their marriage is also a political solution to a financial problem. Waverley's passion has never been directed towards Rose as an object of desire, but only towards Flora, who has repeatedly rejected him. The marriage is undoubtedly a fitting conclusion to a romance, but I would emphasise that my reading of the novel's conclusion is that the marriage is distinctly loveless, thus making the novel conclude on a very cynical or perhaps realistic note. 

In addition, I would suggest that this reading requires us to reconsider Scott's political allegiances, as the romance and the marriage are always linked to them. It has become a critical commonplace to say that the marriage of Rose and Edward is a clear illustration of Scott's unionist sympathies; that their marriage is a symbolic representation of what the union brought about: from Scotland we move on to the prosperous United Kingdom. Such assumptions take for granted that the marriage is a product of romance whereas as I am suggesting that it has little to do with love. There is as little passion and choice in the union of Waverley and Rose as there is between Prince Hal and Catherine. ..'I love France so well I will not part with a village of it, I will have it all mine' is a formula which could well be applied to Scotland after 1746, as Waverley and Talbot's investment in property testifies.


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