Captain Scott's Image: Charting a Century of Change
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Were Scott and his Polar party 'five brave men who sacrificed their lives in agreat adventure'�? Was this a tragedy in which'Courage, determination, and the highest sense of duty were defeated inthe worst weather of the most savage climate in the world. No men couldhave endured more: none ever set a nobler example of heroism anddevotion.'� (Du Garde Peach 1963:50)Or was the real tragedy 'that neither Scott or his men needed to die!!'�:'Unfortunately he lacked originality and lost his common sense so early inthe expedition that he repeated mistake after mistake. Finally he wouldlisten to no one and became blind to reality and in doing so killed his men.There is no doubt the blame for the disaster rests squarely on Scott'sshoulders.'� (Reaney 2010:127)The way Scott and his expedition have been portrayed over the past hundredyears has changed dramatically. This critical review traces the portrayals of Scottfrom 'hero to fool'�, and reasons for the changes through to the currentrehabilitation of Scott's reputation and recognition of his long term legacy.Debates have emerged over the years resulting from these changing perceptionsand different accounts taken of the cultural, political and economic contexts ofScott's time. The rise, fall and more recent restoration of Scott's heroic image ischarted.The period of the review spans the heroic era of exploration to the present day. Itdraws from selected books, diaries, reviews, journal articles, press, film andtelevision over this period, and also recent museum exhibitions.
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