Free Study Guide - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott|
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FREE STUDY GUIDE: IVANHOE BY SIR WALTER SCOTT
Perhaps the least evil of the Norman knights in the novel, De Bracy
is brave in combat and honorable in his conduct toward Rowena. In sharp
contrast to Bois-Guilbert’s treatment of Rebecca, De Bracy offers marriage
to Rowena and treats her with great respect. Even when defeated, he reveals
his dignity and practical nature. Knowing that Richard is going to triumph
and accepting that he will never win Rowena’s love, De Bracy escapes hastily
Front-De-Boeuf’s name means ‘face of an Ox’, and both his appearance
and behavior support this description. His lack of humanity is demonstrated
when he tortures Isaac in Torquilstone Castle. Urfried also accuses him
of murdering his own father. When Front-De-Boeuf is dying in the fire
at the castle, he cruelly hopes that De Bracy and Bois-Guilbert die with
him. Both men escape and have no concern that Front-De-Boeuf has perished
in the flames. It seems a just end for an unjust man.
John is King Richard’s youngest brother. He is as evil and corrupt,
as Richard is good and popular. He spends all his time extorting money,
seizing Saxon lands, drinking, and plotting against his brother. When
news arrives that the King is returning to England, John’s nobles desert
him. He can attract no loyalty or respect from his people, for he is an
ineffectual leader and a man of low moral character and stolen authority.
Fitzurse is John’s shrewd and power-hungry adviser. He patches up quarrels
and pacifies John’s troubled followers. In fact, he is John’s only loyal
follower. He actually tries to kill Richard in order to save his own power,
but he is overcome and banished from the country. His loyalty to John
is fueled totally by his own ambition; if he can get John to the throne,
Fitzurse feels he can be the king’s right-hand man and become the most
powerful man in the country.
This greedy, worldly priest is a typical portrait of the corrupt religious
man of medieval England. Though he has Saxon blood, Aymer caters to the
Normans because they are in power, and he feels he is better served by
them. He always appears in fine, expensive garments; in fact, the Prior
seems to be more worried about the state of his clothes than the state
of his soul. He is also portrayed as a heavy drinker and a total hypocrite.
Prior Aymer becomes Scott’s symbol of all that is wrong with the priesthood
of the Middle Ages.
Known as ‘The Unready’, Athelstane, a Saxon who claims royal blood, is a lazy, indifferent person. He is, however, the person that Cedric chooses to ascend the throne and regain power for the Saxons. He is also the person that he wants Rowena to marry, even though this despicable man is indifferent to her.
Athelstane does not prove his valor in battle, but is knocked unconscious
at the end of the fighting. Everyone assumes he is dead, and they proceed
to take his body back to his home for burial. During the trip, he is bizarrely
“resurrected from the dead” since he has never died. In the end, Cedric
accepts that this man will never be strong enough to ascend to the throne
and Athelstane accepts that he will never marry Rowena.
Robin of Locksley is really Robin Hood, the legendary figure from tales of
antiquity. Deprived of his lands and earldom, Robin decides to become
an outlaw. He collects a band of loyal men who rob the Normans whenever
they can and share their plunder with the poor. History and legend show
him defying unjust laws. In the novel, he is shown coming to the aid of
the Saxons in their fight against the unjust Normans.
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. 09 May 2017