Did Marsali actually have a genuine reason to dislike Claire on Outlander?

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

Marsali is certainly her mother’s daughter, especially when it comes to her hatred for Claire. However, does Marsali actually have a reason to dislike Claire unlike Laoghaire?

Outlander has always been full of twists and turns. While Jamie instantly fell in love with Claire, many others have taken instant dislikes to her. Dougal and the other MacKenzies thought she was a spy, while Laoghaire viewed her as a woman trying to steal the man she perceived was hers. It’s not that surprising that others dislike Claire 20 years later.

The current person to hate her has been Marsali, Laoghaire’s elder daughter. While some people view Marsali as annoying, the young girl does actually have a genuine reason to dislike her stepfather’s first wife.

It’s hard to put yourself in Marsali’s shoes. On Outlander she’s going to be around 15 or 16 years old, and it’s definitely difficult to imagine yourself at that age in that time period. While all women have been 15-16 at some point, those watching the show have not lived in 18th century Scotland. The times were very different, expectations were poles apart from now, and women were treated like second class citizens. Having Jamie’s first wife show up out of the blue after 20 years would have instantly rocked the boat for Marsali and her family.

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One thing to remember is women weren’t allowed to own property, vote, or even have a life for themselves. Laoghaire inherited property from her late husbands, but there were still issues of security. This was especially the case for Marsali. Having Jamie around meant she had someone to consider a husband for her and someone to protect her.

While Jamie and Laoghaire weren’t living together, Marsali still had that view of security and safety. There was the knowledge that there was a man out there who would provide for her. With the return of Claire and the annulment of the marriage to Laoghaire, Marsali would have gained this fear of the things to come next. She wouldn’t have been sure about whether there would be a man to provide for her before she married, and that means the marriage to Fergus so soon after really isn’t that surprising.

All this happened because Claire turned up. Marsali can’t blame her mother for this, since technically Laoghaire did nothing wrong—everyone believed Claire was dead. While she can blame Jamie, it’s easier to blame the woman she’d only just met; the woman her own mother hates with a passion. And young girls are influenced by their mother’s interests, dislikes, and opinions.

Marsali isn’t really a brat when she blames Claire and hates her with everything she has. She’s a typical 15-year-old for her time, and one who is scared of the future. Blaming Claire really is the best option.

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Did you understand Marsali’s hatred for Claire in Outlander? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Outlander Season 3 continues on Sundays at 8/7c on Starz. Don’t forget to like the Claire and Jamie Facebook page for more updates straight to your feed.