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Free Study Guide - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

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Cedric is in his home, Rotherwood, impatiently waiting for his servants to come home. He is also displeased that his ward Rowena is late for supper. His thoughts are interrupted by the blast of a horn. Then the gatekeeper announces that Prior Aymer of the Abbey of Jorvaulx, Brian de Bois-Guilbert, and a small party of men are on their way to the royal tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouche and want to lodge at Rotherwood for the night. Cedric does not want to entertain these Normans, but his Saxon pride demands that they be offered hospitality; however, he clings to his dignity by refusing to go out to welcome them. Only when they come to him in his hall does Cedric reluctantly welcome them.

Cedric counsels Rowena against appearing before the guests. He does not trust the Knight Templar and does not want anything to interfere with his plans to marry Rowena off to the right gentleman. She, however, is keen to hear the latest news from the Holy Land from the Palmer, since she is in love with Ivanhoe, whom she thinks is still fighting in the Crusades.


This chapter develops the character of Cedric, with his strong personality and opinions. It is apparent that he is strict and stern, since he has disinherited his own son; he is also determined, wanting to make certain that Rowena marries the appropriate gentleman that he selects for her. It is also obvious from his mansion and the furnishings in his house that Cedric has had a past position of wealth and power and that he still clings to his Saxon way of life. Cedricís contempt for the Normans is clearly evident in the chapter. He refuses to go out and greet the Norman guests, who come to his house and demand lodging. He only greets them when they come in to his hall. He also shows his boldness and contempt when he refers to William the Conqueror as ďWilliam the BastardĒ in front of his guests.



When the richly dressed guests enter Cedricís hall, he receives them politely but without any warmth. He then scolds Gurth and Wamba for being late. When Rowena enters to join in the meal, Bois-Guilbert stares at her beauty. In response, she draws a veil over her face. Cedric notices the interchange and is annoyed with the Templar. The chapter ends with the announcement of a stranger at Cedricís gates.


In this chapter, the antagonism between the Normans and the Saxons is clearly drawn. Cedricís forced hospitality is obvious; his pride dictates that his best food and drink be set before the Normans, for he wants them to realize that Saxons can do as well, if not better, than Normans when it comes to good and plentiful food.

Cedric is aware of the hypocritical behavior and notoriously loose morals of the Knight Templars. Though by definition, the order of knights is supposed to be brave, chaste, and modest in lifestyle, in actuality, they tend to live in immorality and luxury. Cedric is understandably annoyed and protective when Bois-Guilbert eyes Rowena. He has great plans for her and resents even the suggestion of immorality naturally associated with a Knight Templar.

The chapter ends with a touch of mystery. The servant enters to announce that there is a stranger calling at Cedricís gates.



The stranger at Cedricís gate is Isaac of York. Although he is a Jew, Cedric refuses to turn him away into the stormy night. The Norman guests protest at his being admitted and Cedric makes him sit at a separate table. Only the Palmer takes pity on the drenched and exhausted Jew.

The Palmer names five knights who have displayed great courage during the Crusades. He also mentions a sixth knight, a great competitor, whose name he cannot remember, though he is actually speaking about himself. The Templar vows to challenge this sixth and unknown Knight at the forthcoming Ashby tournament.


Hatred for the Jews appears to infect both the Saxons and the Normans, from the noblest to the lowest. The servant seems to disdain the fact that a Jew has called at Cedricís gate; later the servants ignore him, and the Moslem slaves, belonging to the Normans, curl their whiskers in anger. Cedric himself makes Isaac sit at a separate table for dinner, as far as possible away from the high table. The Normans cross themselves in horror at his presence amongst them. Only Ivanhoe, disguised as the Palmer, welcomes Isaac.

Isaacís reference to the unfair tax imposed by the Exchequer upon the Jews reveals some historical truth about Englandís reaction to Jewish moneylenders. The Church of England forbade Christians to lend money at interest, so the Jews greedily extorted money at unusually high rates of interest. Isaac talks too much about his money and at the same time whines as if he has none.

The disguised Ivanhoe, like his father, appears to instantly dislike Bois-Guilbert, because he is a Norman knight and a moral hypocrite. He also resent the fact that this knight has made advances toward Rowena, the woman than Ivanhoe loves. It is important to remember that neither Rowena nor Cedric know that the Palmer is Ivanhoe.


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