Summary and Analysis
On their way to Athelstane's castle of Coningsburgh, the Black Knight and Wamba are attacked by Waldemar Fitzurse and his men. With the help of Robin Hood and his band, called up by the horn, Richard slays all of his enemies except Fitzurse, whom he banishes from England. Richard's magnanimity toward his brother John is shown in his command that Prince John's name not be mentioned in connection with the attack just made on his life.
In Chapter 40 the Black Knight reveals himself as Richard to those present. When Ivanhoe and Gurth join the group they are all invited to be the guests of the outlaws.
King Richard and Ivanhoe and their party travel on to Coningsburgh, where the funeral feast for Athelstane is in progress. Athelstane, who has only been knocked unconscious, appears, but before he can finish the story of his bizarre escape from the coffin, Ivanhoe is summoned to defend Rebecca.
The roundelay which is sung by the Black Knight and Wamba in dialogue was the type of thing done by the rustics in their pastorals. Its fun derives partly from the incongruity of being sung by a king and a fool.
This is not only the final revelation of Richard the Lion-Hearted, but a revelation of Locksley as the famous Robin Hood as well. According to legend, a village by the name of Locksley in Nottinghamshire was the birthplace of Robin Hood and he sometimes assumed this pseudonym when he affected disguise.
In this section some of the less desirable aspects of the character King Richard are brought into focus. He is reckless to the point of indiscretion, "In the Lion-Hearted king . . . the personal glory which he acquired by his own deeds of arms was far more dear to his excited imagination than that which a course of policy and wisdom would have spread around his government." He is quick to anger; "they who jest with Majesty even in its gayest mood, are but toying with the lion's whelp, which, on slight provocation, uses both fangs and claws."
The castle of Coningsburgh is one of the last remaining examples of Saxon fortification. It probably belonged to King Harold and was given to William de Warren by William the Conqueror. The description of the castle and of the funeral feast is unparalleled in sharpness and accuracy of detail.
In the interest of keeping the historical record straight, Scott somewhat dims the plot by telling of the demise of King Richard and Prince John's accession to the throne.
While the "raising" of Athelstane is somewhat ludicrous, the section serves several ends. Most important is the forging of a final link in the gradual, but relentless, breakdown of Saxon resistance to Norman rule. This was begun by Ivanhoe when he left his father's home to fight by the side of King Richard and reinforced by the lack of leadership which Cedric displayed at a moment of crisis. Significant to the story is Athelstane's obeisance to King Richard and his relinquishing Rowena to Ivanhoe.
destrier war horse
Fructus The Chronicles of England with the Fruit of the
pursy short-winded because of overweight
morion a foot soldier's visor-less high crested helmet
Confiteor. I confess.
crosier the staff of a bishop or abbot, shaped like a shepherd's crook
heathenesse heathenism; heathendom
panegyric eulogistic oration
Woden, or Odin the chief god of ancient Teutonic mythology
soul-scat a funeral due paid to the church
Mort de ma vie! Death of my life!
oubliette a dungeon, deep pit or shaft in a dungeon