Ivanhoe By Sir Walter Scott Summary and Analysis Chapters 7-9

Summary

The tournament with its colorful pavilions and the excited and varied crowds of spectators are described in vivid detail. Rebecca, beautiful daughter of Isaac, is introduced for the first time. A Norman-Saxon quarrel over the seating of Isaac and Rebecca is solved in an unexpected manner by Wamba, the Jester. Other characters introduced are Athelstane, of Saxon royalty and suitor of Rowena, and Waldemar Fitzurse, counselor to Prince John.

On the first day the Disinherited Knight overthrows four stalwart opponents, unhorses Brian de Bois-Guilbert, whom he has challenged to mortal combat, and presents the coronet to Rowena, designating her as the Queen of Beauty and Love for the second day. The victor and his queen decline the invitation to attend the banquet given by Prince John.

Analysis

Against the background of political intrigue and the miserable social conditions in England, the spectacle of the tournament stands out in vivid relief. King Richard has been absent from his realm, reputedly a prisoner of the Duke of Austria. Prince John, the crafty younger brother in league with Philip of France, has been using every available means to prolong Richard's captivity and at the same time to dispose of young Arthur, son of an older brother, Geoffrey, who is next in line for the throne.

Isaac, protected by the general law of England, and more particularly by those who owe him money, or like Prince John, are in the act of negotiating a loan, exhibits a different mien and appearance than when he was the recipient of Cedric's hospitality. Only the yeoman outlaw, who knows no law, causes him anxiety.

The knights, even those who had fought in the Crusades, have divided loyalties. The jousting sometimes becomes more bellicose because of the allegiance some orders feel for the absent king.

Scott makes a general comment about the license of royalty, not only as characteristic of Prince John, but of royalty and the highborn in general, when he writes, "such expression ['that sort of comeliness which belongs to an open nature'] is often mistaken for manly frankness, when in truth it arises from the reckless indifference of a libertine disposition, conscious of superiority of birth, of wealth . . . totally unconnected with personal merit."

Athelstane, called derisively, the "Unready," represents the apathy which people often adopt toward a change of fortune. Although Cedric is attached to a losing cause, sympathy tends to be with his active resistance.

Prince John's proposal of Rebecca as a candidate for queen, might have been effective as a show of tolerance, when, in truth, it was used only to incite the anger of the Saxons.

The names, Malvoisin (bad neighbor) and Front-de-Beouf (Ox-face) help to characterize the unpopular barons.

Whatever Scott's intention, the Spanish term, "Desdichado" for Disinherited, serves to symbolize Ivanhoe's alienation from the father who had disowned him and from the Normans from whom he was alienated by birth.

The power of Fitzurse is demonstrated by the conciliatory measures he takes to cover Prince John's lack of wisdom. His self-appointed role of adviser, while for self-advancement, often saves face for Prince John.

Glossary

La Royne de Beaulte et des Amours the Queen of Beauty and of Love

caracoled half turn to the right and half turn to the left, zigzagged

maroquin Morroco, goat's leather

simarre a woman's light, loose robe

hinds peasants

byzants a Byzantine gold coin

halidom holiness, sanctity; sanctuary, holy relics

largesse a gift

cap-a-pie from head to foot

escutcheons the surface of a shield where armorial bearings are displayed

Gare le corbeau Beware of the raven.

Cave, adsum Beware, I am here.

Wot ye? What do you think? What do you know?

donative gift or present

outrecuidance insolence, presumption

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




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