Ivanhoe By Sir Walter Scott Summary and Analysis Chapters 22-23

Summary

Isaac of York is thrown into the dungeon-vault of the castle and threatened with slow torture by fire unless he delivers to Front-de-Beouf a thousand pounds of silver. Isaac asks that his daughter be sent to York under safe conduct to procure the money, only to learn that she has been made the special property of Brian de Bois-Guilbert. The sound of the bugle breaks off the preparations for the torture.

In another part of the castle, Lady Rowena is approached by De Bracy with a proposal of marriage. She learns for the first time that the wounded Ivanhoe is also a prisoner in the castle and that if she refuses De Bracy, Wilfred and Cedric will be the price of her refusal. She uses her only weapon, tears, and both she and De Bracy are relieved by the bugle summons.

Analysis

Scott cites actual cases of extreme cruelty practiced in the eleventh and twelfth centuries to establish authenticity for the torture intended for Isaac. Up to this point either obsequious or avaricious, Isaac shows a better side to his nature. His love for his daughter is genuine, for she is the one thing more precious to him than money.

The character of the Lady Rowena is an example of the flower of womanhood. She is fair, chaste, and noble. Even the sensual

De Bracy falters at her tears. While Front-de-Boeuf's one-dimensional cruelty is exhibited in the scene with Isaac, De Bracy's more believable character is demonstrated in the scene with Rowena. He greatly desires to make Rowena his, but is moved and wavers at the evidence of her agony.

The sound of the bugle, whether deliberately or unintentionally on Scott's part, is the symbol of reprieve for the captives and judgment on the captors. It is, to be sure, ironical, since it is sounded by a thief.

Glossary

Patrimony an estate inherited from one's father or other ancestor

loadstar (lodestar) a star that leads, especially the polestar

physiognomists persons who attempt to discover temperament by the outward appearance, especially of the face

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