Free Study Guide - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott|
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FREE STUDY GUIDE FOR IVANHOE BY SIR WALTER SCOTT
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.
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when Scott was writing, the quarterstaff was out of date.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.
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.
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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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on Ivanhoe".
. 09 May 2017