There were a lot of fantastic new female characters introduced over the course of this past TV season. Complex, driven women who had real, fleshed out personalities and substantial goals that they did not simply attempt to achieve but did. And while it’s difficult to single out one individual from all these female characters as “the best,” per se, there is one in particular whose traits and actions more people should attempt to match, and that’s Outlander‘s Claire Fraser (played perfectly by Caitriona Balfe). Even though I would hope no one would find himself or herself in the dire circumstances with which Claire often struggles (mostly a byproduct of being a woman in 18th century Scotland, I suppose), there’s a lot that could be and should be admired about her, as she’s not just a compelling figure to watch throughout her journey on Outlander but an inspiration to both women and men about the power of courage, kindness, compassion, and much more. These are 10 reasons we should all want to be more like Outlander‘s Claire Fraser.
Claire is one of the smartest characters on television right now, and her knowledge isn’t strictly based in one field. Even though she’s a WWII nurse, who has a remarkable gift for not only stitching wounds but also concocting remedies for illnesses and ailments, Claire is also incredibly well read, knowing a great deal about history, art, and literature. Plus, as we will soon see more of when Outlander moves to France in Season 2, she can speak multiple languages, a talent that not only takes intelligence but also patience and time in order to obtain it.
So many times on television nowadays, this is the only word that writers and critics, including myself from time to time, use to describe rich, compelling female characters. “She’s a strong woman,” we’ll say or write. But strength truly is one of Claire’s most important traits, as she possesses not just the ability to withstand harm and torment, while also fighting back herself, but, even more importantly, the mental toughness to overcome situations that seem so terribly hopeless. Claire never lets himself falter, even when the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against her, which is a quality that seems to be lacking today in our culture of over-dramatizing the smallest of obstacles.
Along with Claire’s strength comes another significant characteristic: her courage. Claire does not sit idly by while others do thing for her, no matter how potentially dangerous a situation may be. She risks her life and tackles new challenges without hesitation. Perhaps nowhere is Claire’s courage more apparent than in the final few episodes of Outlander‘s first season, when she not only gathers a group to rescue Jamie from Black Jack’s clutches but gets involved herself, coming face to face with the loathsome villain yet again, after he’s attempted to rape and wound her multiple times. But Claire has no fear; even in the darkest of times, she remains brave.
And we’re not simply just talking about Claire’s medical skills here, although those are certainly one of her talents, allowing for Claire to use her 20th century knowledge to become 17th century Scotland’s best healer. However, Claire’s abilities don’t end there. As we witnessed in “The Search,” Claire can also sing and proves to be quite the partner for Murtaugh, as the two become a singing/dancing duo as they continue to look for Jamie after he has been captured by the Redcoats.
Complex may sound like a vague description for a character, but it’s a true one for Claire, as she deals with numerous conflicting emotions, not only concerning her feelings for Jamie and her husband, Frank, who remains in the 1940s, but also for what her role in this Scottish society is. Much of Claire’s journey throughout Season 1 is about her establishing this new life for herself, discovering what this land and this time has to offer her, and digging into the vast possibility of it all. But Claire’s ultimate decision to stay in the past is not an easy conclusion for her to come to; it takes time and much thought, and the amount of episodes that Outlander dedicates to that enormous process proves just how complicated and deep Claire truly is.
Unlike many women of the time (although the Scottish women we meet in Outlander certainly seem very independent, for the most part), Claire isn’t willing to let men talk down to her, or discuss her as if she’s some piece of meat or property. Throughout much of the first season, she continues to trade barbs with Jamie and many of the MacKenzie clan’s men, from Dougal to Rupert to Angus, and it’s a lot of fun to watch, showcasing Claire’s sassier side. She’s got a bit of an attitude, a little bit of moxy, if you will, and boy, is it entertaining.
Whether it’s the love of her life, one of her friends, an older person that is injured or has fallen ill, or a boy that’s punished publicly for crimes not fitting the consequences, Claire cares for every person she encounters in Outlander, and her sense of compassion is definitely one of her best traits. Nowadays, it seems that, a lot of the times, people forget what it means to be compassionate and understanding (heck, just look at the comments section of any YouTube video for proof of that), but Claire’s character serves as a reminder for why we should treat others with the respect and honor they deserve and do our best to help them if and when we can.
Claire Fraser is most certainly not lazy or fickle, and she proves that multiple times throughout Outlander‘s first season. Whether it’s to a mission (such as her original plan to return home to her own time, or, later on, her bringing Jamie’s friends together to help her rescue him) or to a person (her marriage to Jamie, or her friendship with Geillis Duncan), Claire is a committed person that is willing to do just about anything for the people she loves or the causes she believes in.
Claire’s love for Jamie is one of the most amazing things about her as a character, and not simply because their romance is intriguing or sexy. No, it’s because her love for him is able to cut through so much pain, grief, and hopelessness. I won’t spoil the Season 1 finale for those who have yet to check the show out, but Outlander, through Claire’s commitment to Jamie (along with his to her), provides viewers with the most moving love story on television today, something that doesn’t exist simply when times are good, but is instead a powerful connection that is able to pierce the seemingly never-ending veil of darkness and bring back the light. Claire loves Jamie both when it is easy and difficult, and the fact that she always stands by him, especially when he needs her most, only makes her someone that we admire even more.
She Doesn’t Let Any One Person or Thing Define Her
Unlike some women in romance stories (although Outlander is so much more than just a romance), Claire does not let her love for Jamie, or anyone or anything else define who she is. As we’ve proven with the other nine reasons on this list, she has a lot of sides to her, none of which she ever hesitates to express, and it’s all of these qualities that come together that really illustrate who Claire is as a person. Her realness, authenticity, and complexity are what make her such a well-rounded, special character, a woman whose traits should be embraced by any person, male or female.
Have you watched Outlander yet? Do you agree with our thoughts on Claire’s character? Comment below and let us know.
[Photos via Starz]