(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Ivanhoe is easily the best-known Scott novel, probably because it became a celebrated Hollywood epic in 1952. This celebrity reflects Scott’s success in creating a heroic image that remains current. Yet the novel is rich in illuminating detail and is beautifully constructed; and, although research has found it inaccurate, it established the genre of fantasy romance.

The novel portrays the return of the Saxon Wilfred Ivanhoe from the Holy Land to his alienated ancestral estate. It is the early thirteenth century, with King Richard I (or Richard the LionHearted) held captive in Austria. In his absence, his brother John has taken the throne; he uses bribery and extortion to secure his position and intends to suppress the Saxon minority by force.

The first major event is a tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, attended by all the principal nobility. John plans to showcase his power, a propaganda move. Yet events go against him. On the first day, his champions fall in man-to-man combat to a masked warrior, the Disinherited Knight, who awards his winnings to the Saxon lady Rowena. On the second day, in group combat, the Disinherited Knight wins again, though aided by another unknown, The Black Sluggard. Furthermore, a Saxon yeoman archer beats the Prince’s Norman marksmen. At the end of the tournament, Ivanhoe collapses from concealed wounds and is taken for treatment to a rich Jewish merchant, Isaac of York, and his beautiful daughter...

(The entire section is 533 words.)

Ivanhoe Summary

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Night is drawing near when Prior Aymer of Jorvaux and the haughty Templar Brian de Bois-Guilbert overtake a swineherd and a fool by the roadside and ask directions to Rotherwood, the dwelling of Cedric the Saxon. The answers of these serfs so confuse the Templar and the prior that they would have gone far afield were it not for a pilgrim from the Holy Land whom they encounter shortly afterward. The pilgrim is also traveling to Rotherwood, and he brings them safely to Cedric’s hall, where they claim lodging for the night. It is the custom of those rude days to afford hospitality to all travelers, so Cedric gives a grudging welcome to the Norman lords.

There is a feast at Rotherwood that night. On the dais beside Cedric the Saxon sits his ward, the lovely Lady Rowena, descendant of the ancient Saxon princes. It is the old man’s ambition to wed her to Athelstane of Coningsburgh, who comes from the line of King Alfred. Because his son, Wilfred of Ivanhoe, fell in love with Lady Rowena, Cedric banished him, and the young knight went with King Richard to Palestine. None in the banquet hall that night suspects that the pilgrim is Ivanhoe himself.

Another traveler who claims shelter at Rotherwood that night is an aged Jew, Isaac of York. Hearing some orders the Templar mutters to his servants at the feast’s end, Ivanhoe warns the Jew that Bois-Guilbert has designs on his moneybag or his person. Without taking leave of their host the next morning, the disguised pilgrim and Isaac of York leave Rotherwood together and continue on to the nearby town of Ashby de la Zouche.

Many other travelers are on their way to the town, for a great tournament is to be held there. Prince John, the regent of England in King Richard’s absence, is to preside. The winner of the tournament will be allowed to name the Queen of Love and Beauty and receive the prize of the passage of arms from her hands.

Ivanhoe attends the tournament with the word Disinherited written on his shield. Entering the lists, he strikes the shield of Bois-Guilbert with the point of his lance and challenges the knight to mortal combat. In the first passage, both knights splinter their lances, but neither is unhorsed. At the second passage, Ivanhoe’s lance strikes Bois-Guilbert’s helmet and upsets him. Then, one by one, Ivanhoe vanquishes five knights who agreed to take on all comers. When the heralds declare the Disinherited Knight victor of the tourney, Ivanhoe names Lady Rowena the Queen of Love and Beauty.

In the tournament on the following day, Ivanhoe is pressed hard by three antagonists, but he receives unexpected help from a knight in black, whom the spectators call the Black Sluggard because of his previous inactivity. Because of his earlier triumphs during the day, Ivanhoe is again named champion of the tournament. To receive the gift from Lady Rowena, Ivanhoe removes his helmet, and when he does, he is recognized. He receives the chaplet, his prize, kisses the hand of Lady Rowena, and then faints from loss of blood. Isaac of York and...

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Ivanhoe Overview

Ivanhoe is an excellent example of the historical novel, as developed by Scott and defined in his numerous prefaces and introductions...

(The entire section is 134 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter Summaries

Ivanhoe Chapter 1 Summary

Ivanhoe cover image

Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe is set in Yorkshire during the reign of Richard I. The forests in this part of twelfth century England are occupied by outlaws, and the friction between Norman feudal lords and Saxon franklins is exacerbated by the long absence of the king.

Richard has placed the governance of the country in the hands of his ambitious brother John and gone to fight in the Crusades. Political conspiracies are dividing Normans, while the constitutional rights of Saxons crumble.

Cedric the Saxon is a noble with enough power and wealth to maintain his independence for the time being, and the two thralls who sit in the open forest glade are loyal to him. One in rough clothing is looking after Cedric's swine. The other, fantastically dressed and with bells on his cap, is Cedric's jester. Both wear metal collars around their necks to identify them by name and to show that they are slaves who belong to Cedric.

Wamba the jester teases the Gurth the swineherd as Gurth's dog gathers Cedric's hogs for the long walk home. Fangs the dog has been lamed according to a Norman law forbidding Saxons from owning dogs able to huntwhich also makes it hard for the dogs to herd livestock.

Gurth worries that they will be returning late; there are not only outlaws on the road but also Cedric's Norman neighbors, who steal Saxon animals with impunity. Wamba notes that while pigs live they are Saxons and are called by the Saxon word "swine," but when they come to the dinner table, they become Normans and are called by their French name, "pork." Wamba's satiric wordplay signals his role as the fool who knows more than anyone can guess from his clownishness.

When Gurth complains of the villainy of a local lord, Reginald Front-de-Boeuf (meaning "ox face" or "bull head"), Wamba playfully reminds him that such talk about Front-de-Boeuf or his fellow Norman courtier Philip de Malvoisin (meaning "bad neighbor") is treason. Wamba muses that he must indeed be a fool, for only a wise man would turn Gurth in.

As the herd is finally gathered, Gurth and Wamba hear horses on the road. Wamba is for getting a look at the riders to see who they are, but Gurth wishes to avoid trouble and is anxious to get away. He points out to Wamba that there is a storm coming and that it will likely overtake them before they get home. Wamba concedes and joins Gurth and Fangs as they drive the herd back to Cedric's hall. 

Ivanhoe Chapter 2 Summary

Wamba's dawdling slows the progress of the herd, and they are overtaken on the road by the riders they first heard in the forest. There are ten men on horseback, eight of whom seem to be the servants of the leading pair. One is a high-ranking Cistercian monk whose robes somewhat follow the design of a monkish habit but are made of expensive fabrics and luxuriously trimmed. He rides a mule but has an Andalusian horse, a baggage mule, and several servants accompanying him. He is described as well fed, good humored, and able to put a suitable expression on his face as the situation demands.

His fellow traveler is a Templar, permanently sun burnt, scarred in one eye, and wearing a monastic cloak over chain mail. He is...

(The entire section is 483 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 3 Summary

Cedric sits impatiently on the dais of his hall, his household at the table ready to eat. He scolds the dogs and grumbles to the servants. Rowena is late, and Cedric will wait for her even though he is hungry and fretting over the overdue return of Gurth and the pigs. He prizes Gurth and hopes to promote him someday, and his swine are valuable property.

In his irritation, Cedric begins to mull the likelihood that Gurth and the herd have been carried away by thieving outlaws or thieving barons. Primarily, however, he misses Wamba, who he learns is with Gurth and so must have been carried off too.

Contemplating his revenge aloud, Cedric defies his enemies "old and childless as I am." The declaration leaves...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 4 Summary

Prior Aymer and Sir Brian have changed out of their riding clothes and into more sumptuous attire. The Palmer's simple, ragged clothes contrast sharply with the other guests, and he enters almost unnoticed. Seeing that the servants' table is overcrowded, the Palmer stands by the chimney, drying himself while Cedric welcomes the others in Saxon English.

Aymer chides Cedric for his stubborn (and provocative) adherence to old ways but is conciliatory, appreciating the opportunity of Cedric's famous hospitality. Sir Brian declares that he speaks only the king's language—French, although he understands English well enough.

Cedric's irritation soon finds a target with the late arrival of Gurth and Wamba. The...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 5 Summary

The porter returns a moment later with the supplemental news, whispered to Cedric, that the stranger is a Jew named Isaac of York. Overhearing, Wabma suggests that Gurth the swineherd usher Isaac in, which causes Prior Aymer to genuflect and Sir Brian to register outrage at the thought of a defender of the Holy Sepulchre being approached by a "dog Jew."

Wamba wryly notes that the Templars seem to prefer the Jews' inheritance to their company. Cedric, however, maintains that his hospitality must be extended to all, although Isaac can certainly be accommodated apart from the rest of the diners.

Unable to find a place at the crowded servants' table where he is clearly unwanted, Isaac is at last approached by...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 6 Summary

The guests will all be spending the stormy night in Cedric's mansion. A servant assigned to show the Palmer to his room is joined by Wamba in his eagerness to know all the Palmer knows of Ivanhoe, for the estranged son of Cedric is called Wilfrid of Ivanhoe.

The Palmer declines to discuss "in the kitchen" what is "prohibited in the Hall," much disappointing the domestic staff. The servant takes his revenge by lodging the Palmer in a tiny room next to Isaac the Jew. Rowena's maid, however, intercepts them, bringing Rowena's summons to the Palmer.

Rowena's rooms are large and elaborately decorated compared to the rest of Cedric's Saxon warrior lodge. Her maids retreat to the other side of the room as she...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 7 Summary

King Richard is in foreign captivity. In the absence of the king, Prince John is consolidating power and attracting to his court the more decadent and vicious of English nobility. The forests are full of outlaws, the economy is in shambles, disease is rampant. A tournament of skilled knights, therefore, provides English people of all classes some much needed entertainment.

The Passage of Arms, held at Ashby in Leicester, is a first-class tournament drawing a massive crowd that includes Prince John himself. The top-ranked contenders are Cedric's kinsman Athelstane and his Norman neighbors Reginald Front-de-Beouf and Philipe de Malvoisin, as well as Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert.

In the place of highest honor is...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 8 Summary

Flush with his success at crowd pleasing, John suggests that Rebecca should be elected Queen of Love and Beauty. The prince's impulsiveness and political deafness are clearly a source of concern for his followers. Prior Aymer is exasperated and Waldemar Fitzurse—an important but sober-minded ally—sternly warns John of the damage such an action would do to his "projects." John backs down and makes light of it, and De Bracy, his mercenary man-at-arms, suggests that the winner of the tournament be allowed to choose.

The first day of the tournament is to feature five knights, chosen by lot, against all comers in individual combat. The winners of the first round would then face the next five challengers and so on until a...

(The entire section is 430 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 9 Summary

The Disinherited Knight, having won the tournament's first event, declines to remove his helmet to receive his prize. For reasons of his own, he does not wish to reveal his identity.

Prince John is annoyed with the knight for having beaten his favored champions and has no patience with the man's mysterious pretensions. John's friends and advisers cannot guess the identity of the knight, although Fitzurse suggests that it might be one of those straggling home from the Crusade. John panics at the thought that it might be Richard himself until Fitzurse reminds him that Richard is huge.

The knight is awarded a magnificent war horse, which he proceeds to test ride around the field to the delight of the...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 10 Summary

Retiring for the night, the Disinherited Knight is swarmed by squires and pages eager to discover what Prince John could not—his identity. The knight, however, declines their offers of service and relies only on his own attendant, a "clownish" character half smothered in furs that obscure his identity as well.

He has won not only the tournament but also the horses and armor of the knights he defeated. These arrive with the squires of the defeated knights, who wish to know whether he intends to keep the prizes or exercise the option of allowing the knights to random them back.

To four of the squires, the Disinherited Knight declares that the prizes belong with their "valiant masters," and that being truly...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 11 Summary

Having left the village, Gurth begins his journey back to the knight's lodgings through a dark forest lane. The distant sounds of revelry from Ashby bring to Gurth's mind the large number of attendants, jesters, minstrels, and assorted hucksters—most of whom would be drunk and any of whom might be thieves—who are gathered in the area and might be lying in wait in the forest.

His fears are soon confirmed when four outlaws ambush him and offer to "ease" him" of his burden." Gurth is not willing to give up his and his master's money so easily, but he expresses a wish that he had a weapon to defend himself with. Rather than take his purse, the outlaws drag him along to a clearing deeper in the forest, where they are...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 12 Summary

The second day of the tournament begins with the Disinherited Knight leading one side of the general combat and Sir Brian leading the other. To Cedric's surprise, Athelstane chooses to participate on the side of Sir Brian.

Cedric intends Athelstane to marry Rowena as they are the last two descendants of the Saxon king Alfred, and Athelstane considers the betrothal all but official. He is annoyed with the Disinherited Knight's having chosen Rowena to be the Queen of Love and Beauty and hopes to make the knight "feel the weight of his battle axe." Prince John's best knights also have joined on the side of the Templar.

Because the general combat is fought with real weapons and is actually more dangerous than...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 13 Summary

Wilfrid, knight of Ivanhoe, takes his name from the fiefdom, or barony, assigned to him by King Richard, which in his absence has been given to Front-de-Boeuf by Prince John. De Bracy notes that Front-de-Boeuf had better prepare to return Ivanhoe to its previous owner. John's followers are quick to support the prince's right to reassign the properties of the crusaders, but John is uneasy about the return of one of Richard's devoted (and dangerous) minions.

Fitzurse assures John that Ivanhoe is fatally wounded and has been carried off by his friends, presumably by Cedric and Rowena. John asks for information about Rowena, and discovering that she is a wealthy landowner, he offers her to De Bracy—being underage, Rowena...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 14 Summary

The banquet is lavish, and Prince John has invited influential Danes and Saxons as well as Normans in the hope of winning their support with an unusual show of courtesy. Cedric and Athelstane attend, although Rowena stays away.

John restrains his annoyance and manages for a while to be a good host. The Normans poke fun among themselves at the Saxon's sensible but unfashionable clothes, their unrefined manners, and their reputation for gluttony and drunkenness, but John is following the advice of his killjoy counselor Fitzurse in trying to please the Saxons.

John raises a toast to Wilfrid, but Cedric declares that he will not drink to honor his disobedient son, whom he has disowned for his attachment to...

(The entire section is 410 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 15 Summary

Waldemar Fitzurse is a masterful political whip, and he promptly and efficiently rounds up John's faltering followers by renewing promises, passing out money, dismissing Richard's return as highly unlikely, and reminding them of all they stand to gain in standing by John. Richard's position, he argues, is so weak in England that he would not be able to counter a coup even if he did return.

Tired but satisfied, Fitzurse heads to his rooms and runs into De Bracy, who is dressed as a yeoman. Fitzurse is not amused, fearing that now this ally is going off to engage in antics that might undo his hard work. De Bracy counters that they both know John will make a terrible king, serving the ambitions of his advisers: Fitzurse...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 16 Summary

The "sluggard" knight who came to Wilfrid's assistance at the tournament has traveled north through the woods and gotten lost in Yorkshire. Tired and hungry, he cannot tell which path is the most likely to take him back to the road, so he leaves the decision to his horse. Allowed to pick his own way, the weary horse sets off in the direction of a nearby hermitage.

The hermit's hut is made of logs and stands beside a stone fountain and ruined chapel in an isolated forest glade. The Black Knight is relieved because hermits are bound to offer hospitality to travelers in need.

Knocking on the door of the hut, the Black Knight is at first ignored by the hermit and then told to keep going. Surprised and unwilling...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 17 Summary

The hermit and the knight engage in a musical duel. The knight accurately assesses the rather battered condition of the harp, demonstrating his degree of familiarity with the instrument. He then asks the monk whether he would prefer a sirvente, a lai, or a ballad—indicating his ability to sing in a variety of styles and languages.

The hermit declares that he is English through and through, and so was his patron Saint Dunstan; he forbids any song but an English one in his hut. The Black Knight then sings a ballad by a Saxon crusader of his acquaintance to please his Saxon host.

The host is a critic, however. The knight's voice is well trained but naturally gruff and limited in range. The...

(The entire section is 415 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 18 Summary

Cedric's pride restrains him from ordering his own servants to collect Wilfrid's unconscious body from the field, but he orders his cupbearer, Oswald, to look after his son. Wilfrid, however, has disappeared. Seeking the missing knight, Oswald spots Gurth, who is also looking frantically for Wilfrid and has forgotten to hide his face. Gurth is technically a runaway slave, so Oswald collects him and takes him back to Cedric. Cedric is worried about Wilfrid, but that only makes him try to sound even less concerned. He cuts off Rowena's objections and tells her he's going to the banquet. She replies that she will not go, but she cautions him that his pride will make him appear too hard-hearted.

On returning from the...

(The entire section is 498 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 19 Summary

Athelstane, Cedric, and Rowena are accompanied by ten servants, plus Wamba and Gurth. Aside from being a fairly large party, they are Saxons, as are the outlaws that haunt the forest. The Saxon nobles are not overly concerned by Saxon yeomen, reduced to a life of crime by Norman oppression. Isaac and Rebecca, however, cannot rely on the sympathy of the outlaws for their security, and the escort they hired in Ashby abandons them—and takes the horses with them. As the Saxon party overtakes them on the road, Isaac and Rebecca are encumbered by a stretcher on which a wounded man lies. A large band of outlaws is rumored to be nearby. Athelstane is for leaving them to the robbers, but Cedric suggests lending them a couple of attendants...

(The entire section is 581 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 20 Summary

Locksley has guided Wamba and Gurth three hours through the forest to a place where others of the outlaws' band are gathered. Locksley asks his sentinels the whereabouts of some of his lieutenants and orders the mustering of as many men as can be found while he goes to collect the friar from his hermitage.

It is Locksley, with Wamba and Gurth, who knock on the door of the Clerk of Copmanhurst in the middle of his revels with the Black Knight. Gurth has heard of the clerk, who is said to have digested half the deer in the forest. Before answering the door, the monk advises the knight to put on his helmet and join him in singing the De profundis clamavi to drown out the sound of mugs and plates being hidden...

(The entire section is 562 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 21 Summary

De Bracy's band of "yeomen" has had a hard time finding their way around in the forest but have finally found the right road to Torquilstone. Sir Brian reminds De Bracy that he must leave the company and get ready for his role as rescuer, but De Bracy has changed his plan. Fitzurse's warning has taken root in De Bracy's mind, and he is no longer willing to leave Rowena with Sir Brian. The Templar takes umbrage with such suspicions and asserts that the vows he has taken as a knight of the Temple order should be assurance enough for De Bracy to trust him. De Bracy scoffs, saying that it is well known how little difficulty the Templars find in getting around their sacred vows. Sir Brian replies that he isn't interested in Rowena...

(The entire section is 622 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 22 Summary

Isaac is in the dungeon, deep under the castle. The chamber is damp and dark, and he has a skeleton for company. There is a large, rusty fire grill at one end of the room. Isaac's initial terror has subsided and he is considering his situation. He has been in similar peril before and escaped, and he has the pride and courage to resist his tormentors. Isaac contrives a cushion out of his cloak and sits calmly awaiting the next move.

At last, Front-de-Boeuf arrives in the dungeon accompanied by Sir Brian's eastern slaves. The slaves carry bags and a basket and are dressed for hard, messy work, and the noble locks the door. Front-de-Boeuf's face is marked by his vicious nature, and his eyes freeze Isaac with fear. As Isaac...

(The entire section is 522 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 23 Summary

Rowena has been placed in the room of Front-de-Beouf's dead wife. Its magnificence is decayed, but the castle has no better room to put her in. De Bracy has changed into his most fashionable clothes and hopes to overcome the bad impression the abduction may have made on her by pleading the violence of his passion for her. Rowena isn't buying it. He tries to court her in the language of chivalry, but she is scathing in her refusals, calling him a churl and a clown. De Bracy admits the wisdom of her words but warns her that she will never leave Torquilstone except as his wife.

De Bracy lists for her the advantages such a marriage would have for her: status, honor, and a nice house instead of the pig farm of Cedric. Rowena...

(The entire section is 455 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 24 Summary

Rebecca is placed is a small turret room high in one of the castle's towers. A hideous old woman occupies the room already and refuses to be expelled until she finishes her spinning. Front-de-Beouf's servants fear their master but are unwilling to forcibly remove her. They leave her alone with Rebecca, and when they are gone, she proceeds to guess at the game they are playing with the beautiful Jew, who begs to know whether she will be killed. The old woman scoffs at the idea. Instead, she predicts such usage of Rebecca as was "once thought good enough for a noble Saxon maiden."

The name of the old woman is Urfried, and she says that she was once young and "twice as fair" as Rebecca. She says that the castle had been...

(The entire section is 763 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 25 Summary

Sir Brian meets De Bracy in the hall, and they compare their amorous failures. Their intended victims are not cooperating, the Saxon defending herself with floods of tears and the Jew with resolution and pride. The horn is still blowing, but they await Front-de-Boeuf, who they know is negotiating ransom with Isaac. When Front-de-Beouf at last arrives, he brings a note from the besiegers. He thinks the writing is Saxon, but neither he nor De Bracy are literate.

Sir Brian reads the note but is not sure whether it is a joke. He reads the note aloud. It begins, "I, Wamba, the son of Witless," and goes on to include as its coauthor Gurth the swineherd. It declares that these two, allied with the Black Knight and the yeoman...

(The entire section is 470 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 26 Summary

Dressed as a friar and armed with a handful of stock Latin liturgical phrases, Wamba gains admittance to the castle. The jester claims to have innocently fallen in with the thieves and says that there are at least five hundred of them. Sir Brian suggests to Front-de-Beouf that the priest be allowed to go through with the sham of confessing the captives so that the besiegers will believe that they really are going to execute them. He also wants to entrust the priest with a message to De Bracy's forces, alerting them to the siege. Wamba is escorted to the hall where Cedric and Athelstane are held.

Wamba at first fools the Saxon nobles with his disguise, warning them that they are to be killed. Cedric is outraged and...

(The entire section is 439 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 27 Summary

Urfried guides Cedric into a small room, locks the door, and makes him admit that he, like she, is a Saxon. She declares that she will soon be dead, and she wants to tell a fellow Saxon the story of her unhappy life. She tells him that she was the daughter of Torquil. Cedric is appalled that the hag was once the girl he knew as Ulrica, and tells her that he is the son of her father's friend Hereward. She wonders why Cedric of Rotherwood is dressed as a priest, and he wonders why she is alive and in her own castle when all the rest of her family were killed. Ulrica confesses that she became the paramour of her father's murderer.

Cedric tells her that she was believed to have died with the rest of her family and that she...

(The entire section is 739 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 28 Summary

The reader is taken back to the tournament at Ashby, as Wilfrid lies in a swoon bleeding to death. Rebecca overcomes her father's well-founded doubts and orders Ivanhoe to be taken up in her own litter and carried to the house where she and Isaac are staying. Rebecca rides a palfrey, over her father's objections, and is therefore exposed to the stares of the crowd. Sir Brian sees Rebecca and admires her beauty so much that when she later becomes De Bracy's captive, he resolves to take her for a prize of his own.

Rebecca is a practitioner of the medieval healing arts, some of which are specialties of the Jews. She is an especially talented doctor and was mentored by a famous woman who passed on to Rebecca her own...

(The entire section is 572 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 29 Summary

Rebecca is pleased to find herself once again beside Wilfrid, but she knows that her feelings cannot be indulged in or returned—in fact, she quickly finds that Wilfrid's feelings for her are far from romantic. She confirms his guess that they are the captives of Front-de-Beouf, and he declares that he must do something to save Rowena and his father—not, Rebecca notes to herself, his Jewish companions. On being told that there is a priest in the castle, Wilfrid begs Rebecca to go and bring him so that they can gather some news about the forces outside the castle.

As the noise of the defenders going to their posts on the battlements thrills Rebecca, Wilfrid becomes anxious to engage in the battle himself, though he is...

(The entire section is 639 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 30 Summary

During the respite between assaults, while Front-de-Beouf lies dying, De Bracy and Sir Brian consult with each other on how to proceed. Sir Brian scoffs at De Bracy's belief that Front-de-Beouf is being punished for his crass impiety. De Bracy retorts that the Temple order is well known for its contingent of heretics—Sir Brian among them—but the Templar shrugs off De Bracy's reproach and suggests they think about defending the castle. De Bracy's defense on the other side of the castle has gone better than the main defense of the postern gate, but the sheer numbers of archers shooting at the defenders makes any show of force on their side impossible. The nobles do not have enough soldiers to defend every vulnerable point. De...

(The entire section is 474 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 31 Summary

Cedric has told Locksley and the Black Knight about Ulrica's signal. They use their time awaiting the red flag constructing a floating bridge with which to cross the moat, but once the bridge is complete, the Black Knight is unwilling to wait longer to continue the assault. Locksley directs his archers to create a diversion on the far side of the castle while the Black Knight leads those who will follow him across the bridge to take the gate. Cedric, although he has no armor to protect him, insists on following the Black Knight. The two of them are left chopping at the gate while the rest of their men are driven back to the shelter of the barbican. De Bracy tells his soldiers to stop throwing rocks at them and to loosen a large...

(The entire section is 844 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 32 Summary

In the morning, the victorious besiegers meet under an ancient oak where a "throne" of fern has been constructed for Locksley. The Black Knight and Cedric are seated to either side of him as he explains that he is monarch of the forest and cannot show deference to any man in front of his outlaw subjects. Being outlaws, they have managed to carry off a staggering amount of loot from the burning castle. Locksley asks for the friar, but he has not been seen since mounting his own assault on Front-de-Beouf's wine cellar. Worried that the Clerk of Copmanhurst may have been too drunk to withdraw in time, Locksley sends a large rescue party in search of him.

Locksley is anxious to divide the spoil and get away before any...

(The entire section is 753 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 33 Summary

Locksley's lieutenant Allan-a-Dale has missed the action at Torquilstone, having been away on an ambush of Prior Aymer. The terrified abbot is outraged at having been abducted, pointing out that his fancy cut lace has been torn. He has been robbed of his portable property, and Allan-a-Dale demands a ransom in addition. Locksley expresses astonishment that Allan-a-Dale would mistreat a man of the church, but he advises that he pay the ransom or else the priory will need a new prior. Aymer fails to claim a degree of safety as a priest, so he appeals to Locksley as a lusty woodsman by demonstrating his proficiency on a hunting horn. Locksley adds to his ransom as a penalty for blowing like a Norman.

One of the outlaws then...

(The entire section is 638 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 34 Summary

Prince John is feasting in the castle of York with his followers, but he is missing a number of his key conspirators. Fitzurse is doing his best to encourage and hold together those who have answered John's call, but Front-de-Beouf, De Bracy, and Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert have not come, and Isaac—John's primary source of funding—has not returned to York either. Fitzurse tells John of the little escapade against Cedric that seems to have resulted in an unfortunate delay, and John ironically rails that if he were king of England, he would hang such unprincipled marauders. Fitzurse reconciles the prince to his marauding knights by suggesting that Saxons such as Cedric would see real advantages in such hangings.


(The entire section is 426 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 35 Summary

Isaac proceeds through the forest as quickly as he can manage and dismisses his outlaw guides as soon as he reaches the edge of it, but he is still miles from Templestowe. He is exhausted by all he has endured and stumbles to the home of a physician friend he has in the next town. Nathan Ben Israel is sympathetic, but he tells Isaac that the notorious Lucas de Beaumanoir is now installed as grand master at Templestowe. Beaumanoir is a zealot and an anti-Semite—standing out even in that day for his hatred of the Jews. This is bad news for Sir Brian, who is precisely the kind of secular priest that Beaumanoir is purging from the order, and for Rebecca.

Isaac is undeterred, however, because Rebecca has no chance at all...

(The entire section is 458 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 36 Summary

The preceptor of Templestowe is the brother of Cedric's neighbor Philip de Malvoisin. Unlike Sir Brian, Preceptor Malvoisin has the gift of veiling his hypocrisy behind a face expressing sincere fanaticism. When Beaumanoir confronts him with his knowledge of Rebecca's presence in the mansion, Malvoisin is at first speechless. Rebecca had been so well hidden he did not think she would be discovered, but now he needed a quick and plausible response to save the careers of himself and Sir Brian. When pressed for an answer, Malvoisin expresses horror that the maiden—whom he had put in residence there to supervise and prevent a growing intimacy between her and Sir Brian—should turn out to be a Jewish sorceress. Suddenly, he says, it...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 37 Summary

On the dais of the hall sits the grand master, and behind him are arranged the knights and squires of Templestowe. Sir Brian anxiously carves lines in the floor with the point of his sword; Beaumanoir interprets the scratches as cabalistic symbols. Rebecca stands before the grand master, and filling the rest of the hall are interested spectators.

The proceedings begin with the grand master's ominous declaration that if Sir Brian is guilty of bringing a woman—a Jewish woman—into the preceptory for the purpose of trying to kiss her, he will be "cut off and cast out" for his "heinous and multiplied guilt." This pronouncement makes the notoriously lecherous members of the order nervous. But, Beaumanoir continues, if the...

(The entire section is 742 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 38 Summary

The grand master has some stirrings of pity for Rebecca and offers her the opportunity to confess to witchcraft, convert to Christianity, and spend her life in an ascetic convent. Rebecca begins to dispute the grand master in matters of doctrine, but when he asks the chaplain to take over his end of the argument, Rebecca returns the conversation back to her challenge.

Beaumanoir compares Rebecca's silk glove to a Templar's gauntlet, but Rebecca asserts that with her innocence in the scales, the glove outweighs the gauntlet. He turns to the knights and says that it wouldn't be fitting for a military order to refuse a challenge, but who will fight her champion? Sir Brian is proposed as being most closely interested in the...

(The entire section is 479 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 39 Summary

Rebecca is in the middle of her devotions when Sir Brian visits her. He tells her that she has nothing to fear from him because there are guards outside her door that he does not control. He remarks that they both would choose death over disgrace. Rebecca replies that she would not abandon principles founded on the Rock of Ages and her disgrace would be real, while his principles are without substance and his disgrace is in standing by them instead of doing the right thing. He might not have anticipated the situation she was now in, but it was still entirely his fault. He might have spoken up for her during the trial, but instead he went along with Beaumanoir to avoid trouble for himself.

Sir Brian tells her that it was...

(The entire section is 554 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 40 Summary

The Black Knight, now revealed to be King Richard, goes to the priory of St. Botolph, where he has sent Wilfrid with Gurth and Wamba. Richard arranges to meet Wilfrid at Athelstane's castle. Wilfrid must rest another day before taking the journey to Coningsburgh, but Richard sets out right away with Wamba for his guide. He is intrigued by his Saxon subjects and wants to see more of them. After Richard leaves, Wilfrid becomes restless and tells the prior he is well enough to travel and wishes to go. He has a presentiment of danger and worries that if Richard strolls into a large party of heavily drinking Saxon funeral attendees, something bad might happen. The prior reluctantly lends Wilfrid his own elderly palfrey, which has a...

(The entire section is 540 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 41 Summary

Wilfrid and Gurth arrive on the scene of the ambush to find a pile of bodies, Richard spattered with blood, and a gathering of outlaws in jovial conversation with the king. Wilfrid does not know how to address Richard or what to make of the scene.

Richard greets Wilfrid, announcing that he is no longer hiding his identity from these "true English hearts." He explains the pile of bodies and then scolds Wilfrid for not resting at St. Botolph's. Wilfrid in turn scolds Richard for riding about as a knight errant while his absence from the throne results in instability and disorder, as evidenced by the pile of dead assassins.

Richard explains that he must remain incognito until his own followers in England, such...

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Ivanhoe Chapter 42 Summary

Richard and Wilfrid are taken up to the tower's third floor, where the more important guests are gathered in a mournful circle. Wilfrid has hidden his face, but Cedric recognizes the Black Knight and rises to meet him. Together they pass through a side room where monks are praying for the soul of Athelstane to another room where Athelstane's mother sits alone.

Lady Edith has willed most of the family estates to the local convent of St. Edmund. After introductions, they pass on to a room where Rowena and other Saxon ladies are singing a funeral dirge. Cedric notes that Rowena's demeanor is caused by her sorrow for her betrothed, although in fact she is wondering what has become of Wilfrid.

Cedric shows...

(The entire section is 715 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 43 Summary

The tiltyard at Templestowe is prepared for mortal combat, with a stake set up for the execution to follow. Among the crowd is a minstrel and a friar, who stop to hear the latest gossip. It is rumored that Athelstane of Coningsburgh was raised from the dead after being buried for several weeks.

The minstrel encourages the storyteller, but he and the friar deny every point of the story: Athelstane was at Ashby, so he can't have been dead so long; his body was carried to Coningsburgh, not St. Edmunds; the sacristan's visitor was a sober cleric, not a drunken friar.

It soon becomes clear to the minstrel, who is Allan-a-Dale, that the friar knows more than he has told. Friar Tuck tells him how his quarter staff...

(The entire section is 447 words.)

Ivanhoe Chapter 44 Summary

The grand master declares Rebecca innocent and awards Sir Brian's body and gear to Ivanhoe. Wilfrid again refuses to accept Sir Brian's horse, armor, and weapons, but he orders his burial to be private—as a man who died "in an unjust quarrel."

Richard arrives with a force of knights. He reproaches Wilfrid for not letting him be the one to fight the Templar. Richard then orders the arrest of Preceptor Malvoisin for treason. When the grand master protests, Richard points out that the banner of the Templars has been replaced with the flag of England. He tells Beaumanoir to dissolve the Templestowe chapter and take his Templars to another preceptory that has not engaged in conspiracy.

The grand master proudly...

(The entire section is 689 words.)