Is It Time for Claire to Accept 18th Century Lifestyles on ‘Outlander’?

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Is It Time for Claire to Accept 18th Century Lifestyles on 'Outlander'?

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In the most recent episode of Outlander, “The Doldrums,” Claire argued with the Artemis’ captain about superstitions the crew believed. This isn’t the first time she’s argued about beliefs, speculations and the superstitious nature of the 18th century. She constantly tries to push her 20th century views onto the people of the past. Is it time to stop that and just accept the lifestyles of the time she is in?

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Claire Can’t Change the World with Her Beliefs

If Claire continues to push 20th century beliefs and medicine on the people of the 18th century, she will eventually doubt herself as a surgeon and person. People believe that she is someone from their time. Due to the way women have a lower status in British society she will always be ignored. It’s not possible for her to change the world with her beliefs.

By continually pushing her views, she could find herself the subject of another witch trial. People will fear and misunderstand her, pushing her further out of society’s circles. It will be harder for her to heal people with her talents, since they won’t want to mix with her or feel belittled by her beliefs. If she wants to make a life in the 18th century, she will need to accept the lifestyles of the people of that time.

The 18th Century Doesn’t Have the 20th Century Knowledge

Things changed considerably between the 1760s and the 1960s, especially the rights of women and minorities, technology and medical advancements. It’s not surprising that the opinions of people changed at the same time. By the time Claire left the 1960s, women could become doctors and (almost) everyone could vote for their government.

Knowledge helped to bring the changes. This is knowledge the people of the 18th century don’t have, and they can’t just gain that knowledge overnight on Outlander. Claire has the luxury of coming from a time where women started to gain equal rights and were viewed as crucial members of the workforce during World War II. She would need to teach the 18th century people all that for them to change their views, which just isn’t possible.

To survive in the 18th century, she needs to dial back her opinions and work with the knowledge of the people in that time. She needs to understand more about why and how superstitions are developed. She already made a point that the British sailors suffering from typhoid had never heard of the disease, so she knows the medical knowledge isn’t there. Why should she expect other knowledge and beliefs to be at the same standard as hers from the 20th century?


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Claire could do more damage by not fitting in with the people of the time. She needs to start accepting the world she is in, including the views and beliefs that can seem silly to her. If she doesn’t, she could find herself feared as an outsider and witch, just like she did in Scotland.

Do you think Claire needs to accept the 18th century lifestyles? Would you like to see her integrate with people more by accepting their beliefs and superstitions? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Outlander continues on Sundays at 8/7c on Starz. Want more news? Like our Facebook page for more updates straight to your feed.

(Image courtesy of Starz)

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