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Free Study Guide - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

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FREE STUDY GUIDE FOR IVANHOE BY SIR WALTER SCOTT

CHAPTER 10

Summary

As soon as Ivanhoe, in the guise of the Disinherited Knight, reaches his tent on the first day of the tournament, he is presented with the rich armor, weapons, and horses of the knights he has defeated. He accepts his rewards from four of the five knights. He refuses the gifts of Bois-Guilbert, however, and sends a message that he will meet the Templar Knight again in combat on the following day.

With some of the money from his rewards, Ivanhoe sends Gurth, who is now his confidante, to Isaac to pay for the horse and armor which he so generously loaned to him for the tournament. Isaac takes the money, but Rebecca secretly sends it back, adding twenty gold coins as a tip for Gurth.

Notes

This chapter reveals Scott’s skill in characterization. The Disinherited Knight, who is really Ivanhoe, is courteous, brave, and noble -- a true knight in every sense of the word. He is also fair, paying back Isaac as soon as possible. He is also kind to Gurth, who has become his counselor and confidante.

Rebecca is also shown in a gracious light. Though she is Isaac’s daughter, she is not greedy for money. She feels that the Disinherited Knight, in his earlier guise as the Palmer, has shown Isaac kindness and should not repay her father for the favor of lending a horse. She, therefore, returns the money, adding a generous tip for Gurth. Gurth is overjoyed at the gold, for he wants to buy his freedom from slavery.


CHAPTER 11


Summary

On his way back to Ashby, poor Gurth is attacked by four men who steal the money he carries, both his gold coins and that belonging to Ivanhoe. The thieves question him about where he got the money. When Gurth tells about Rebecca’s kindness, the thieves refuse to believe that any Jew would return a payment on a loan. Gurth fights with his attackers. When he shows his courage in the conflict, the robbers surprisingly give him back his money and escort him to Ashby.

Notes

This chapter introduces the theme of “noble” outlaws. The robbers who ambush Gurth announce that their principle is to rob the rich and give to the poor. Scott reveals that perfectly honorable men have been reduced to outlaw status because of the unjust ways in which their lands have been confiscated from them. He does not paint these outlaws in a negative life, but seems to sympathize with their plight.

Scott intrudes into the narrative in this chapter to speak in his own voice and describe the quarter staff battle. In the nineteenth century, when Scott was writing, the quarterstaff was out of date. Scott, however, felt that this scene was necessary to demonstrate the courage and skill of these bold champions. The intrusion stands out because up to this point in the story, the author has been directly seen in the narrative.


CHAPTER 12

Summary

After the combats of the first day at Ashby, the crowds eagerly await the events of the next day. The excitement reaches a fever pitch when the Disinherited Knight is attacked simultaneously by Athelstane, Front-de-Boeuf, and Bois-Guilbert. With the help of another mysterious character, the Black Knight, who comes to his aid, Ivanhoe overcomes his challengers, emerging the victor once again. After the victory, the Black Knight disappears. Rowena crowns the Disinherited Knight, who is now forced to raise his visor and show his face. He is revealed to all as Ivanhoe, Cedric’s son. Severely wounded, he faints at Rowena’s feet.

Notes

Once again, this is a highly descriptive chapter. Scott is at his best when talking of heraldry, armor, dress, and habits from a historical point of view. The shouting of the crowd proclaiming that death is to be preferred to defeat is characteristic of the chivalric code. Having established such an atmosphere, Scott very skillfully makes the disguised Ivanhoe the very symbol of honor of this chivalric code. Having to face four knights is a daunting experience. The hero does this honorably and defeats them. Scott shows that injustice must be fought with high moral principles, because only then can it be properly defeated.

The dramatic revelation of the true identity of the Disinherited Knight is Scott’s way of creating both atmosphere and suspense. The reader is all along sure that the Disinherited Knight is Ivanhoe, but nevertheless, this scene of dramatic revelation is both rewarding.

 

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