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MonkeyNotes-Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
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Chapters 7-9

These chapters are largely descriptive and do little to advance the plot of the story. The busy arena where the knights will display their skill is brilliantly described. The challengers, Bois-Guilbert, Front-de-Boeuf, Grantmesnil, Malvoisin, and Ralph de Vipoint, are introduced and described as seasoned Norman knights. Isaac's daughter Rebecca is also introduced.

A stranger, beautifully attired in steel and gold armor, arrives at the arena, challenges Bois-Guilbert, and emerges victorious; Bois- Guilbert feels disgraced. The mysterious knight also wins on the second day of the tournament and crowns Rowena as the Queen of Love and Beauty.


Notes

At the tournament, the arena, the colorful costumes, and the horses are all described in great detail. There is also a sense of excited expectancy amongst the crowd, mostly common people. Because of the social rift between the Saxons and the Normans and the economic chaos in the country, the tournament is a welcome relief to the everyday tension they feel. During the tournament, the people will be able to forget the things they have lost -- their stolen property and spoiled heritage. For two days, they can feast their eyes on the dress and appearance of the rich. They can escape their lives and be caught up in the excitement of combat.

Scott displays his knowledge of medieval tournaments as he describes the heraldry, costumes, and coats-of-arms of the combatants; he also explains the detailed rules and complicated politics of this tournament. Since King Richard is in captivity, Prince John tries to assert his authority in many ways, usually just to make the Saxons angry. He even proposes that Rebecca, the beautiful daughter of Isaac the Jew, be crowned the tournament Queen of Love and Beauty. Given both the Norman and Saxon dislike for Jews, it seems fairly obvious this request is done to agitate. He is dissuaded from following through on his suggestion by his shrewd adviser. Waldemar Fitzurse warns Prince John not to enrage the Norman and the Saxon nobility and the Christians by choosing a Jewess.

It is important to notice that Rebecca and her father are richly dressed at the tournament, in contrast to Isaac's miserable earlier appearance and claims of poverty. At Ashby, Isaac feels safe, for he enjoys the protection of those who need to borrow money from him. Even Prince John is in the process of negotiating a large loan with him.

Athelstane, the man whom Cedric wants Rowena to marry, is introduced and described in a very poor light. Instead of standing up for the Saxons, whom he represents, he appears both apathetic and conquered. In contrast, Ivanhoe presents himself as the Disinherited Knight ("Desdichado") and wins the tournament. He then crowns Rowena as the Queen of the tournament.

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