Ivanhoe By Sir Walter Scott Summary and Analysis Chapters 37-39

Summary

At Rebecca's trial the charges against Brian de Bois-Guilbert are read and tempered by the intimation that he was made devoid of reason by a supernatural power.

Witnesses against Rebecca testify to her occult powers of healing and curious happenings concerning her appearance on the parapet at the storming of Torquilstone. Her beauty and innocent defense affect the crowd, but have little bearing on the outcome of the trial. At Brian de Bois-Guilbert's prompting she demands a champion to represent her in trial by combat and gains a reprieve. A peasant is sent at once to Isaac so that he may seek a champion. Bois-Gulbert, sensing that a champion may not be found, urges her to elope with him.

Analysis

The student of American history and literature will detect in the Salem witchcraft trials echoes of the trumped-up charges against Rebecca. Rebecca is condemned both by the lies of witnesses against her and for following certain customs common to the Jews but which appear strange to Christian Englishmen. In their strangeness, to the audience of the tribunal they seem to suggest sacrilege. The audience construes difference in manners as proof of evil.

It is difficult to hold Bois-Guilbert in complete contempt as he begins to show some admirable qualities. His immoral intentions pale somewhat in his attempts to protect Rebecca. Rebecca's character is consistent in her firm rejection of all Bois-Guilbert's proposals. Rebecca is heard to say of the Templar, "I envy thee not thy faith, which is ever in thy mouth but never in thy heart nor in thy practice." This is fine assessment of many religious groups.

Glossary

Auferte malum ex vobis. Remove the evil from among you.

cabalistic pertaining to mystic symbols

essoine in this case, excuse

capul horse

phlebotomy the practice of opening a vein for the letting of blood

exorcism the act of driving off evil spirits

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




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