Summary and Analysis Chapters 32-34



The liberated party assemble at Locksley's trysting place in the forest, where Cedric makes Gurth a free man. Cedric refuses a share of the plunder from the castle, but both he and Rowena express gratitude for Locksley's help.

Friar Tuck arrives, leading Isaac by a rope around his neck. The Friar and the Black Knight engage in friendly fisticuffs to decide the fate of the Jew. The Jew and the Prior set each other's ransom and Isaac learns of Rebecca's abduction. For a price the Prior offers to use his influence with Brian de Bois-Guilbert and furnishes a letter to this effect. The Saxon party leaves with the body of Athelstane to prepare the funeral rites at Coningsburgh Castle, Athelstane's home.

De Bracy, set free by the Black Knight, announces to Prince John that Richard is in England, that Bois-Guilbert has fled, and that Front-de-Boeuf is dead. When he recovers from the shock, Prince John conceives a plot to make his brother prisoner and Fitzurse sets out to do his bidding.


In character, quote, or scene, Shakespeare was often present with Scott. Note the similarity between Isaac and Shylock of The Merchant of Venice. The forest scene of this chapter is reminiscent of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The robber band often has impish or elfin qualities, and further distinctions of a supernatural nature are introduced by references to "the Devil that is in his jerkin" and "mortal Men" (as opposed to immortal men).

That King Richard would stoop to an exchange of blows with the Friar is not unlikely. He was supposed to have had such an encounter when he was a prisoner in Germany. According to the story his antagonist was a warder's son. Richard received a hard blow and returned one with such force that he killed his adversary.

The complicated finagling about setting the ransom of the Prior and Isaac is included for the sake of its humor. A Jew is pitted against a churchman and a comic priest against a corrupt one. The outlaw mediator is the only one who shows principle. The equity with which Locksley divides the spoil illustrates the adage "honor among thieves."

Distrust and intrigue in officialdom is an old story. At the time of which Scott writes it often initiated a change of loyalty as a matter of saving one's own neck.


Aldhelm of a scholar and church-builder of the seventh

Malmsbury century

theow and esne thrall and bondsman

levin-fire lightning

quondam having been formerly; former; sometime

manus imponere servos Domini in to lay hands on the servant of the Lord

Excommunicabo vos. I will excommunicate you.

nebulo quidam good for nothing fellow, scamp

pouncet-box a box for carrying pornander (perfume)

crisping-tongs curling iron

Watling Street an old Roman road from Dover to the neighborhood of Newcastle-on-Tyne

propter necessitatem et ad frigus depellendurn in case of necessity and to drive away the cold

latro famosus famous robber

phalanx body of troops closely arrayed (here, birds)

inter res sacras accounted sacred

gibbets a kind of gallows where malefactors were left hanging as a warning

Clifford's Gate in Clifford's Tower (did not exist in Richard's reign)

Sir Guy the hero of a medieval romance

Sir Bevis of Hampton, a hero of a medieval romance

Tracy, Morville, Brito slayers of Thomas-a-Becket

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