Study Guide

Outlander Duty

By Diana Gabaldon


Some jobs come with a sense of moral obligation. Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, librarians swear to some sort of secret book code to only make the best recommendations (at least we're assuming this is what they do), and members of the Blue Man Group make an oath to rock our faces off (er, something like that). When it comes to the characters in Outlander, they are often defined by their jobs, and these jobs come with a sense of duty.

Claire, as a nurse, will risk her own limbs to save the injured limbs of others, while as a warrior, Jamie is strong and fierce, but always fights fair. Especially in the 18th century, a man's word (and a woman's) is almost all he has, so their sense of duty is priceless.

Questions About Duty

  1. What are Claire's duties as a medical professional? Do her duties ever lead her into dangerous situations?
  2. What are Claire's duties as a wife in the 18th century? Are they different than her duties as a wife would be in the 20th century?
  3. What are Jamie's duties as a warrior? As a clansman? As a husband? Do they ever conflict?

Chew on This

People didn't have Facebook in this time to create whatever image they wanted. Their job then, whether it be as a nurse, warrior, or clan chieftain, was their identity, and they take it seriously.

Claire and Jamie also feel a strong sense of duty as a result of another role: that of wife and husband.