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Rob Roy: Summary & Author

Instructor: Rachel Noorda
This lesson provides you with a summary of 'Rob Roy' and introduces you to its author, Sir Walter Scott. Learn about the famous Scottish author and his book about a famous Scottish outlaw. Then test your knowledge with the quiz!

Who Was Rob Roy?

Although Rob Roy is a novel by Sir Walter Scott published in 1817, it is a story based on the actual historical figure of Robert Roy MacGregor. Robert Roy MacGregor was born in the late 1600s in Scotland. He was an outlaw, a bandit, and often compared to Robin Hood.

Robert Roy MacGregor
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Rob Roy lived during a period in Scottish history where many people were frustrated. At the time, there was no Scottish king to rule Britain, and many wanted James VII of Scotland (or II of England) and his descendants to rule. This frustration spurred the Jacobite risings, riots, and battles to put James II and his descendants back on the throne. Jacobite comes from Jacobus which is the Latin name for James. Rob Roy participated in these Jacobite risings. His legacy is one of courage, bravery, and standing up for his beliefs.

The Church Where Rob Roy Is Buried
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Summary of Rob Roy

Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott is a historical fiction novel that includes a character based on Robert Roy MacGregor. It is part of the Waverley novels, a series of Scott's books that focused on Scottish history.

The setting of Rob Roy is Scotland just before the Jacobite rising of 1715. The narrator and main character of the story is the Englishman Frank Osbaldistone. Frank has a fight with his father because he does not want to join the family business. Because of the fight, Frank's father sends him to stay with his uncle, Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistone, who is a Jacobite.

On his way to his uncle's house, Frank bumps into Rob Roy, the outlaw, who is disguised as a man named Mr. Campbell. Frank also meets Diana Vernon, Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistone's niece, and eventually falls in love with her. Rashleigh, Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistone's son, steals financial documents essential to the Osbaldistone family and escapes to Scotland. Frank decides to get help from Rob Roy in order to restore his father's honor. The Jacobite risings break out and in the battle Rashleigh tries to kill Frank, but Rob Roy kills Rashleigh before he can do so. In the end, Frank inherits the Osbaldistone estate and marries Diana.

While Rob Roy is a mysterious and minor character in the book, he is instrumental in the final fight against Rashleigh. More than anything, Rob Roy and the Jacobite risings set the stage for the other characters to develop in this historical fiction novel.

Illustration from the Novel, Rob Roy
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