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Ivanhoe | Study Guide

Sir Walter Scott

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Ivanhoe | Quotes


The son who has disobeyed me is no longer mine.

Cedric of Rotherwood, Chapter 3

Unaware that his son is about to walk into the room, Cedric thinks he would like to hear the news from Palestine where Ivanhoe was last heard of. But then he reminds himself that he has renounced Ivanhoe for the very reason that he followed the Norman king on Crusade.


He is too like ourselves for us to make booty of him ... dogs should not worry dogs where wolves and foxes are to be found in abundance.

Locksley, Chapter 11

Here Locksley tells his men they will not steal from Gurth. He is stating the central principle that guides his band of outlaws: They don't steal from those who work hard for their money.


Take heed to yourself for the Devil is unchained!

Narrator, Chapter 13

These are the words in the anonymous note John receives at Ashby saying Richard is free. He panics and cancels the third day of the tournament and begins worrying that his supporters will desert him.


Men talk of the blessings of freedom ... any wise man would teach me what use to make of it now that I have it.

Wamba, Chapter 19

When Cedric is taken captive by the Normans, Wamba is suddenly free. His love of Cedric and his role as Cedric's fool—and therefore counselor of sorts—mean that freedom has taken away the home and purpose he had in life.


[It does not matter] whether I am known by one name or another.

Locksley, Chapter 19

Locksley has found Gurth and Wamba in the forest and offered to help them. They are trying to figure out just who he is. But Locksley hides his true identity preferring to be known for his deeds.


You can speak to no one ... to whom England, and the life of every Englishman, can be dearer than to me.

Black Knight, Chapter 20

Locksley is looking for help to save Cedric from his Norman captors and hopes to find a native-born Englishman. No one knows the Black Knight is King Richard the Lionheart, but with these words he states what should, ideally, be true of any king, whether Norman or Saxon.


Courtesy of tongue ... when it is used to veil churlishness of deed, is but a knight's girdle around the breast of a base clown.

Rowena, Chapter 23

After capturing and imprisoning Rowena, de Bracy tries to woo her as a knight. But she answers him haughtily, trying to put him in his place. It doesn't work for her, but she still points out an important truth: Courtesy is about deeds, not words.


The Templar [is] ... a limb of a mighty body, before which thrones already tremble, ... as the single drop of rain which mixes with the sea [is] part of that resistless ocean, which ... ingulfs royal armadas.

Brian de Bois-Guilbert, Chapter 24

Worldly power is important to Bois-Guilbert, and he expects everyone to understand its importance. But when he says these words to Rebecca, trying to convince her to accept him as her lover, he is in for a disappointment. For Rebecca it is not political power but spiritual power that matters.


We shall see what good they will make by exchanging a fool for a wise man ... I fear they will lose in valour what they may gain in discretion.

Wamba, Chapter 25

When changing places with his master in Torquilstone to save Cedric's life, Wamba makes one of his perceptive multilayered wordplays. It's hard to know who is meant. Is he the fool, or is it Cedric? He also ties fool and valor together as in the proverb "Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread."


What remains [after death is] glory! which gilds our sepulchre and embalms our name.

Ivanhoe, Chapter 29

Rebecca doesn't understand why Ivanhoe yearns to join the battle for Torquilstone. He replies that battle is what knights live for. It is what chivalry is all about, and knights would give everything for it.


Glory ... is the rusted mail which hangs as a hatchment over the champion's dim and mouldering tomb.

Rebecca, Chapter 29

Ivanhoe says knights live for glory, but Rebecca doesn't see how glory can compensate for having suffered and caused suffering or for having sacrificed love and pleasure and a peaceful happy life. The dead are forgotten, she thinks, and their glory with them.


He that does good, having the unlimited power to do evil, deserves praise not only for the good which he performs, but for the evil which he forbears.

Black Knight, Chapter 33

When saying goodbye to Locksley after the battle for Torquilstone, the Black Knight must be thinking of both their situations when he says this. Locksley is a powerful outlaw leader and could easily do much evil. But as king, Richard has even greater power for good and for evil. It's just that no one around him knows that yet.


They fall off from me ... they hold no more by me than a withered leaf by the bough when a breeze blows on it.

John, Chapter 34

De Bracy has just brought the news that Richard is in England, Front-de-Boeuf is dead, and he himself has sworn to leave the country. Fitzurse is talking with de Bracy about their futures. John feels betrayed and deserted by his trusted co-conspirators. They are leaving before they are forced to do so—in a breeze, not a storm.


Will future ages believe that such stupid bigotry ever existed!

Brian de Bois-Guilbert, Chapter 36

When he hears Rebecca is to be burned as a sorceress to atone for the sins of the Templars in England, Bois-Guilbert is incensed with the stupid, blind prejudice of his fellow knights, especially the grand master of the order. He has no such prejudice and sees past Rebecca's Judaism to a kind, intelligent woman. Of course such bigotry did exist in Scott's time, just as it does today.


I envy thee not thy faith, which is ever in thy mouth, but never in thy heart nor in thy practice.

Rebecca, Chapter 39

Even if Bois-Guilbert is not the best example of Christian hypocrisy among the characters, Rebecca has seen plenty of examples among his fellow Templars, the Normans in general, and even the Saxons. They tout Christian forgiveness and charity, yet denigrate, torture, and kill Jews based on nothing but their Jewish identity.

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