Ivanhoe By Sir Walter Scott Summary and Analysis Chapters 43-44

Summary

Many people assemble at Templestowe for the combat which is to decide the fate of Rebecca. Among them are Allan-a-Dale and Friar Tuck, who discuss the legend which is rapidly arising around Athelstane.

Brian de Bois-Guilbert, the unwilling champion of the order against Rebecca, appeals once more to her to ride away with him. With her customary disdain, she refuses. Just as it appears that no champion will appear to defend Rebecca, Ivanhoe rides into the lists. He and his horse are exhausted from the hard ride and, at the first skirmish, Ivanhoe is unseated. However, the Templar also falls to the ground, having died, "a victim to the violence of his own contending passions."

Rowena and Wilfred of Ivanhoe are married and it is to Rowena that Rebecca pays a final visit to tender her thanks for deliverance. She and her father leave England to live in Granada.

Analysis

The sudden death of Bois-Guilbert allows Ivanhoe to remain a credible hero. At the same time the Templar escapes disgrace, the only fate a knight fears, as Ivanhoe once told Rebecca. Ivanhoe is often called a fairy story. In the "Afterward" Compton Mackenzie says of it, "It may be a fairy story, but what a glorious fairy story it is!"

Rebecca apparently chooses to express her thanks and farewells to Lady Rowena rather than to Wilfred because she is afraid of revealing too much of her feelings to Ivanhoe. Scott has this comment about the ending:

The character of the fair Jewess found so much favour in the eyes of some fair readers, that the writer was censured because when arranging the fates of the characters of the drama, he had not assigned the hand of Wilfred to Rebecca, rather than the less interesting Rowena. But not to mention that the prejudice of the age rendered such a union almost impossible, the Author may in passing observe, that he thinks a character of a highly virtuous and lofty stamp is degraded rather than exalted by an attempt to reward virtue with temporal prosperity. Such is not the recompense which Providence has deemed worthy of suffering merit, and it is a dangerous and fatal doctrine to teach young persons, the most common readers of romance, that rectitude of conduct and of principle are naturally allied with or adequately rewarded by the gratification of our passions, or attainment of our wishes.

Glossary

flints men of the right sort

dunghills lowbred fellows

te igitur the servicebook, on which oaths were sworn

reliquary small box, casket, or shrine for keeping a relic

Faites vos devoirs, preux chevaliers. Do your duty, brave knights.

Fiat voluntas tua. Thy will be done.

Quare fremeurunt gentes? Why do the heathen rage?

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




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