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Ivanhoe | Study Guide

Sir Walter Scott

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Ivanhoe | Discussion Questions 31 - 40


In Chapter 31 of Ivanhoe, how does Cedric of Rotherwood create dramatic irony by following the Black Knight into battle?

In Chapter 31 when Cedric of Rotherwood escapes Torquilstone, he bravely charges without armor into the battle right behind the Black Knight, not realizing that he is following the disguised King Richard. This scene creates dramatic irony because Cedric despises all Normans on principle, refuses to speak French, and disinherits his son, Ivanhoe, for having followed King Richard into battle. But he sees the Black Knight fighting on his behalf, and he needs to rescue his ward, Rowena, and other members of his party, including Wamba. He also wants to seek vengeance against Reginald Front-de-Boeuf, Maurice de Bracy, and Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert. So while it makes sense for Cedric to follow the Black Knight, it is an event that is contrary to what Cedric has stood against for years. The full significance of Cedric's actions is apparent to readers before it becomes known to him much later.

In Chapter 33 of Ivanhoe, why do Locksley and the Black Knight agree not to ask each other their true identities?

In Chapter 33 both Locksley and the Black Knight have succeeded in large part because their disguises have hidden their true identities. Both are safer and stronger in building up their forces without Prince John and his followers knowing who or where they are. Interestingly, the Black Knight calls himself "a true English knight" just before the battle at Torquilstone, and Locksley calls himself "a true Englishman" just after the battle. Their working together to save a group of Saxons from Norman captors may not have happened had they known each other's true identifies before the battle. Their victory together makes unmasking each other unnecessary. Their mutual respect, based on each other's levelheaded intelligence, fighting skills, loyalty, and strategic thinking, makes unmasking bind them in a shared mystery.

In Chapter 28 of Ivanhoe, what is the significance of Rebecca's skills as a healer when she treats Ivanhoe's wound from the tournament?

In Chapter 28 Rebecca insists she is obligated to treat Ivanhoe's wound from the tournament because she and her father, Isaac of York, are "answerable to God and to man" if Ivanhoe dies when they could have saved him. Isaac agrees, referencing her training from a rabbi's daughter, Miriam, in the "art of healing," the "craft of herbs," and the "force of elixirs." The narrator then explains that during the Middle Ages, women were "initiated into the mysteries of surgery," and both Jewish men and women were physicians sought by monarchs and barons. Yet, many Christians believed rabbis practiced the occult, curses, and supernatural arts. Thus Rebecca, already established as an educated character with her languages (French, Hebrew, Latin, Saxon, English, and Arabic), is also shown to have medical training. However, because she is Jewish and the prevailing attitudes of her time were virulently anti-Semitic, her skills as a healer foreshadow that her medical training may cause her problems with the Normans.

In Ivanhoe why do the people of England prefer King Richard over Prince John?

In Ivanhoe Richard battles evil. Prince John embraces it. Richard is portrayed as a brave, chivalrous, and judicious man who enjoys a good time and pleasant companions, while Prince John is seen as a cowardly, greedy, and arrogant villain who surrounds himself with scoundrels and opportunists. Richard evens the odds for Ivanhoe at the Ashby tournament. He enjoys wine and sings with Wamba and the friar. He leads the battle at Torquilstone. Richard celebrates with the outlaws of Sherwood, who it was noted in Chapter 7 were "driven to despair by the oppression of the feudal nobility and the severe exercise of the forest laws." Richard puts down his brother's rebellion, convinces Cedric to reclaim Ivanhoe as his son, and dispenses pardons and justice to friends and enemies. Beginning with the description in Chapter 1 of his subjugation of the Saxon populace and misappropriation of Saxon property, "A circumstance which greatly tended to enhance the tyranny of the nobility, and the sufferings of the inferior classes," Prince John dispenses suspicion and plots a treasonous rebellion against his brother. By the end of the tale, when Prince John's supporters learn that Richard has returned, Prince John's followers show their lack of regard, personal feeling, and loyalty by abandoning both Prince John and his now-failed rebellion.

In Ivanhoe, in what ways does Ivanhoe represent chivalry?

In Ivanhoe chivalry is presented as a Christian code embraced and defended by the Norman nobility. For Ivanhoe chivalry embraces loyalty to the king, the love of adventure, and integrity. Loyalty to the king: One of the reasons Cedric of Rotherwood disinherits his son is that Ivanhoe has chosen to follow the Norman, King Richard, in a crusade to the Holy Land. There, Ivanhoe exemplified the virtue of chivalry as he distinguished himself both in battle during the taking of St. John-de-Acre as well as in the joust with the Knights of the Temple in which Ivanhoe takes down Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert. Love of adventure: While imprisoned and lying injured in the besieged castle in Chapter 29, Ivanhoe cannot resist the lure of the fight, describing the virtues of chivalry to Rebecca in the defense of the weak, the beset, and those yearning for freedom. "The love of battle is the food upon which we live," he declares. Integrity: Though disinherited and abandoned, Ivanhoe remains loyal to his father. Though sympathetic to Rebecca, he resolutely rides to her defense in Chapters 43 and 44 despite his being exhausted and still recovering from his earlier wounds. The integrity of his love for Rowena is never seriously in question.

In Ivanhoe how does Ivanhoe compare and contrast with his father, Cedric of Rotherwood?

In Ivanhoe Cedric of Rotherwood is a Saxon landowner with a manor, land, and servants. His father and grandfather suffered in the Norman conquest and the "wounds of separation" described in Chapter 1 brought by the Normans and their arrogant domination and oppressive taxes. Cedric sustains his faith in Saxon restoration by pledging the marriage of his ward, Rowena, to Athelstane of Coningsburgh, descendant of Saxon royalty. At the same time he disinherits his son when Ivanhoe not only falls in love with Rowena, but also commits his loyalty to King Richard. Cedric believes that Ivanhoe has abandoned his Saxon heritage. In contrast Ivanhoe believes he can be both a Saxon and loyal to a Norman king. Despite Cedric's fierce pride in his Saxon heritage and his rough exterior, throughout the novel he exposes a kind heart, as when in Chapter 18 he arranges for the wounded Ivanhoe to be transported to safety. Ivanhoe also has a kind heart, believes in hospitality, and has a deep love for his father. In Chapter 42 at the urging of King Richard, who seeks "the quelling of dissension among my faithful people," Cedric forgives his son, and Ivanhoe is delighted to be reunited with his father.

In Ivanhoe how is Templestowe important as a setting?

In Ivanhoe after the victory of the Saxon/English forces at Torquilstone, the suspense shifts to Templestowe, the location of the Templar Preceptory, a main center where the Knights Templars assemble. It is here where Rebecca is held captive after Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert carries her off during the battle at Torquilstone. Templar grand master, Lucas de Beaumanoir, hates Jewish people and, upon learning that Rebecca is a "healer," wants her burned at the stake for practicing sorcery. He orders a sham trial to convict her of "witcheries." It also is in Templestowe that Bois-Guilbert is confronted by the hypocrisy of what the Knights Templars have become under Beaumanoir. Ultimately, these events lead Bois-Guilbert to finally challenge the rules of his order.

In Ivanhoe why does Cedric of Rotherwood finally forgive his disinherited son, Ivanhoe?

In Ivanhoe Cedric of Rotherwood clings to the belief that his son, Ivanhoe, acts dishonorably in following King Richard, a Norman monarch, to battle in the Crusade because Cedric believes only a Saxon should be the monarch of England. Seeing the Normans usurp the Saxon land and culture, Cedric despises and rejects all Normans and hangs on to a political path that has no chance of attainment. However, after he recovers from the shock of learning the Black Knight's true identify, he has the opportunity to reevaluate his position. When King Richard promises Cedric that he is the king equally of both Normans and Saxons, Cedric realizes that King Richard bridges the two cultures. For example King Richard saves Cedric and his party, including his son and his ward, Rowena, at Torquilstone. Further, King Richard does so by joining forces with Locksley and his men, also Saxons. Now that Cedric has witnessed King Richard's earning respect, Cedric is finally ready to forgive his son, Ivanhoe, for fighting on King Richard's behalf.

In what ways is Scott's Ivanhoe an example of historical fiction?

In Ivanhoe Scott combined several literary techniques to develop historical fiction, including the following: setting his plot in a past age when two cultures are in conflict using both fictional characters and actual historical people using both fictional events and settings and actual historical events and settings treating characters, dialogue, events, settings, and themes with realist detail presenting events through an omniscient narrator For example the events in Ivanhoe take place some 600 years before the novel's publication date. Actual historic characters are featured, such as King Richard and Prince John, as well as fictional characters, such as Cedric of Rotherwood, Rowena, Isaac of York, and Rebecca. Some of the settings are real, such as Sheffield, Doncaster, York, and Ashby-de-la-Zouche. Other settings are imagined, such as Torquilstone, Rotherwood, and Templestowe. Most of the cultural components are real, such as the conflicts between the Normans and the Saxons, chivalric code, knights tournaments, the Knights Templar, and virulent anti-Semitism. However, when combining fiction and historical fact, Scott also compressed time in order to make history serve his thematic goals as an author. Because he wanted to find a parallel for the themes of his earlier novels, which dealt with tensions between the Scottish and the English—tensions that still existed at the time he was writing—Scott reanimated the Norman–Saxon animosity that had characterized the decades immediately following the Norman Conquest of 1066 but which had long since subsided by 1190, when the events in Ivanhoe take place. This is one of the most glaring examples of the motif of anachronism in the novel. Thus, Scott used a mix of fiction and fact to give an entertaining and humanized version of history as opposed to a "Dr. Dryasdust" emotionless narration. In this way Scott used his imagination to vividly capture the emotions of a bygone era and its people, social conditions, loyalties, values, and manners with a faithfulness to historical facts. This artistic reconstruction of historical events and people allows readers an insight into the society and social conditions of long ago.

In Ivanhoe how are the main characters affected by the theme of dispossession?

In Ivanhoe nearly all the main characters are affected by the theme of dispossession. Saxons are dispossessed when the Norman conquerors steal their land, oppress them, and attempt to displace their culture and language in favor of Norman manners and language. King Richard is dispossessed when returning from England after the Crusade to the Holy Land because he is captured and held for ransom, while his brother, Prince John, takes over his command. His brother's rule overturns much of King Richard's practices as Prince John usurps money, land, and power from English subjects. Prince John also lets his knights violate their vows of chastity and poverty and live immoral and indulgent lives, turning to criminal behavior instead of protecting people from criminals. Thus, King Richard must don a disguise when he finally returns to England in order to gather his troops in secret. Cedric disinherits his son, Ivanhoe, as a result of Ivanhoe's love for Rowena and loyalty to King Richard, a Norman. Locksley and his men live as outlaws because of their opposition to Prince John's usurping his brother's throne. Isaac and Rebecca are dispossessed because of bigotry toward Jewish people. They have lost their land and their country.

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