James Fraser and Claire Beauchamp
Credit: Outlander, Starz, 2014

Claire Beauchamp In Outlander: Who, Why And When?

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Pop your champagne bottles and celebrate! The year is 1945 and World War II is officially over. It all seems wonderful as British army nurse Claire Beauchamp heads to Inverness, Scotland for her second honeymoon with her husband Frank Randall. As Claire and Frank explore the beautiful city, they stumble upon a mysterious ritual being performed amidst an ancient stone circle referred to as Craigh na Dun. They pay witness to various women chanting in a strange tongue, dancing around the stones and carrying torches. Afterward, Frank and Claire inspect the stone circle and a peculiar blue flower captures Claire’s attention. The seemingly harmless interaction entices Claire’s curiosity and she later finds herself visiting the stone circle once more.

Claire Beauchamp at Craigh na Dun.
Claire Beauchamp in Outlander – Credit: Outlander, Starz 2014.

At Craigh na Dun, Claire unexpectedly steps through the stones and ends up in 1743 Scotland. Confused and disoriented, she stumbles upon a Redcoat soldier who looks exactly like her husband Frank. He ends up being an English ruffian named Jack Randall, a direct ancestor of Claire’s husband. As she runs from Jack, she stumbles upon a group of Highlanders. Amidst this group is James Fraser, a red-haired, stubborn, lovable Scott who is immediately enraptured by Claire.

Who Is Claire Beauchamp In 1743?

To the Highlanders, Claire Beauchamp sticks out like a sore thumb. She is knowledgeable about things that have not been invented yet. She constantly finds herself having to withhold information for her own safety. It is no surprise that she quickly gains the attention of those around her, including James. Outlander’s main focus is James Fraser and Claire Beauchamp’s relationship.

Claire and James Fraser
Credit: Outlander, Starz 2014.

Claire and James have an intense relationship on all fronts and eventually end up getting married. James refers to Claire as “Sassenach,” which is Gaelic for an outlander. They are constantly saving one another throughout the series and inevitably fall in love with each other. Claire struggles with revealing the truth of when she came from to James. Although their love overcomes the aforementioned obstacle, the others from the eighteenth century are far less understanding.

Why Is Claire Staying A Problem?

At a time when “witches” were burnt at the stake and men were willing to start a mutiny over superstitions, where does a woman from the future fit in? Claire must overcome various trials to preserve her love with James. Unjustly, her relationship with James is the reason behind some of her tribulations. An example is when Claire is accused of witchcraft by someone who was pining over James. Allegations have been made against her, claiming that her knowledge of modern medicine is attributed to witchcraft. Claire Beauchamp was only able to escape the witch trial because her friend Geillis Duncan pleaded guilty to the charge of witchcraft so Claire could escape during the commotion that followed.

Geillis Duncan and Claire Beauchamp
Credit: Outlander, Starz 2014.

The witch trial was not the only time Claire Beauchamp nearly lost her life because of her knowledge of the future. Claire knows that the redcoat she first encountered after traveling through Craigh na Dun is likely her husband’s great-grandfather. James ends up suffering immensely at the hands of Jack, and Claire justifies not killing Jack by stating that they would be consequentially killing her husband Frank.

So the question is: does Claire’s loyalty lie in the past or in the future?

When Does Claire Beauchamp Belong?

There is no doubt that Claire is plagued by guilt over having two husbands. Regardless, when the time came to choose between Frank and James she chose to stay in the past with the headstrong highlander. Although Claire and James have been able to enjoy their relationship for a time, Claire’s decision to stay with her husband James is nullified.

Following the battle of Culloden, a battle that ended Highlander culture, Claire Beauchamp returns to her time. In 1945 she raised her and James’ child with her husband Frank. However, Claire has noticeably fallen out of love with Frank. She believes James died in the battle of Culloden, and her heartbreak numbs her to the possibility of loving another man.

Frank Randall and his wife
Credit: Outlander, Starz 2014.

After the death of her husband Frank, Claire stumbles upon evidence that James survived the battle of Culloden. Claire finds herself running back to Craigh na Dun and back to James. The possibility of her and James’ love was enough to bring Claire back to the past and away from the life she had built for herself and their daughter. Claire clearly struggled with the decision to leave her now grown-up daughter behind, but in the end, she chose to return to James.

Outlander breaks away from the traditional love stories and reshapes the concept of a love triangle. Tormented by the uncertainty of with whom Claire’s loyalty lies, love is as complicated as it gets. James and Claire’s relationship is a testament to the strength of their love. It has survived the test of time, the agony of death and the perils of war. There is little to no doubt that Claire Beauchamp belongs with James. Their love transcends time and, as they have continuously proven, it is worth fighting for.

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