Rebecca is beautiful and chaste, but her affection for Ivanhoe is unruly and unwise. She is so hard on Brian de Bois-Guilbert that one is constrained to feel sorry for the villain. She has strong religious faith, but it does not reduce her to stoicism. She "shudders" at her impending fate. Her innate kindness causes her to use her healing knowledge indiscriminately, but she suffers from the disclosure of the source. It is precisely these "human" qualities that cause some readers to prefer her to Rowena.
Rebecca was drawn from a real person, Rebecca Gratz, who lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Washington Irving told Scott about her beauty and nobility of character.