Ivanhoe By Sir Walter Scott Summary and Analysis Chapters 13-15

Summary

With the identity of Ivanhoe revealed, there is much speculation as to whether Front-de-Boeuf will be forced to relinquish the castle he now occupies, previously assigned by Richard to Ivanhoe. Prince John, whose plan for wedding Rowena to De Bracy is in the making, is quite agitated when he receives a billet saying, "Take heed to yourself, for the Devil is unchained."

Even though the main event of the day is over, lesser contests are still to come, among them the archery contest in which Locksley easily defeats Hubert.

At the royal banquet that evening, Cedric offends Prince John by drinking to the health of Richard the Lion-Hearted.

De Bracy, fascinated with the idea of wedding Rowena, dons yeoman's clothes and plans to abduct the Saxon party as they return home from the tournament. Fitzurse, who has been busy recouping the loyalty of Prince John's wavering subjects, looks upon De Bracy's folly with disfavor.

Analysis

The insecurity of Prince John is revealed by his agitation over the message. ("The devil is unchained" refers, of course, to the escape of Richard the Lion-Hearted from captivity.) In contrast to Prince John's panic, Fitzurse coolly plans a counteraction. Prince John's lack of wisdom is evident when in the next chapter he seeks to curry favor by inviting the Saxon notables to the banquet, and then subjecting them to ridicule, thus defeating his own purpose. His weaknesses are most apparent to those whose fortunes rest with his, particularly Fitzurse and De Bracy, who covet high positions in the event Prince John becomes King of England.

Scott introduces a good deal of irony by exposing the bad manners of the Normans and the gluttonous ones of the Saxons. He continues the expose of the medieval church by recounting the impious antics of the Prior.

The archery contest is a bit more than a pleasant interlude. It serves to introduce the character and skill of Locksley, whom the reader will recognize as Robin Hood, and to show the loyalty of many kinds of people to the dispossessed king.

Fitzurse demonstrates great ingenuity as he cajoles, threatens, or bribes the wavering followers of Prince John back into the fold of the arrogant prince.

The drinking of a health to Richard by Cedric is symbolic of the changing attitude of the Saxon from mass hatred for the Normans to consideration for the worth of the individual.

Glossary

fleurs-de-lis heraldic lilies

bucklers kinds of shields worn on one of the arms to protect the front of the body

chamberlain a steward

purveyors caterers, officers who exact provisions

objurgations denouncement

karum pie a pie containing nightingales and becca ficoes (blackcaps)

nidering infamous, base, cowardly

primogeniture firstborn child of the same parents

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According to Ivanhoe, the only fate that a knight fears is __________.




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