Ivanhoe By Sir Walter Scott Summary and Analysis Chapters 30-31

Summary

Front-de-Boeuf, mortally wounded in the fighting, is reviled by Ulrica as he is dying. She rightfully accuses him of blasphemy and parricide, for she has witnessed the murder of his father. In a last desperate effort at revenge, Ulrica has set fire to the castle. Both she and Front-de-Boeuf perish in the flames.

Meanwhile the leadership of the besiegers has been divided between the Black Knight and Locksley. In the fighting the Black Knight captures De Bracy and saves Ivanhoe from the burning castle. All of the prisoners escape except Rebecca, who is carried off by the amorous Brian de Bois-Guilbert. In an attempt to stop the Templar, Athelstane receives a blow on the head and falls down as if dead.

Analysis

Animosity and distrust within the ranks of the Normans are apparent in these chapters. Front-de-Boeuf rather hopes to see De Bracy and Bois-Guilbert die along with the Saxons in the burning castle. Similarly, De Bracy and Bois-Guilbert discuss Front-de-Boeuf's death with equanimity and are only interested in its consequences for the cause of Prince John. They then accuse each other of superstition or heresy in regard to religion. Both condemn Fitzurse for incurring the enmity of Locksley.

The division of leadership is noteworthy in that Cedric declines to lead the Saxon forces. "Not so, by the soul of Hereward!, lead I cannot." The implication of lack of leadership ability may be one of the keys to the fall of Saxon dominion.

Ulrica's death song is an imitation of the poems of antiquity of the Scalds, Scandinavian minstrels. Ulrica probably learned these legendary strains from her Scandinavian ancestors. The death scene involving Ulrica is perhaps melodramatic but serves to intensify the background of superstition and legend which is a part of the novel.

Glossary

malapert bold, impudent; saucy, pert

unhouseled not having had the Eucharist administered

hengist, or hengst means stallion, the white horse as Saxon ensign

Partizan any member of a military body harassing an enemy

Mount Joye Saint Denis a war cry of the French Crusaders

Zernebock the black god or Devil of the Wends and Prussian Slavs

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




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