Ideas for Reports and Papers
1. The theme of Ivanhoe seems to have two elements: the evils of prejudice and the compromise between heroic ideals and reality. Discuss each aspect fully.
2. The classic formula for the historical novel calls for an age when two cultures are in conflict, one dying and the other being born. Into this cultural conflict, fictional characters participate in actual historical events among actual historical persons; the interaction of these elements results in an immediate picture of a bygone age. Discuss Ivanhoe as an example of this form.
3. Critics have said Isaac and Rebecca are at the moral heart of Ivanhoe. What does this mean and to what extent is it true?
4. Richard the Lion-Hearted is a brilliant figure who is presented in the book as a redeemer, a savior of England. To what extent is this true? To what extent are the evils he promises to eradicate the result of his own irresponsible knighterrantry?
5. Discuss Scott's portrayal of the Norman conquerors in Ivanhoe. How do the names of some of these knights suggest their natures: Malvoisin, Front-de- Boeuf, and Prior Aymer? Refer to your library's English/French dictionary for assistance. Also, consider the symbolic relevance of de Bouef's and de Bois- Guilbert's deaths.
6. Does the violence in the novel occur for purposes of sensationalism or for more significant, morally compelling reasons?