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MonkeyNotes-Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
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Chapter 24

Rebecca meets the old hag, Urfried, in the little tower where she is imprisoned. Urfried makes the most frightening forecast for Rebecca, recounting her own terrible fate at the hands of Front-de- Boeuf's father. Urfried, however, had submitted to the elder Front- de-Bouef's molestation, accepting the subsequent shame and dishonor. The brave Rebecca looks around for some escape, but finds none. Musing over her fate, she hears footsteps on the stairs. A tall man stands at the door. She offers her jewelry to the man who takes off his cap and reveals himself as Bois-Guilbert. He makes advances at her, which she refuses. Rebecca threatens to kill herself. She would rather die than be dishonored as the old woman Urfried has been. The trumpet call also saves Rebecca, for it summons Bois-Guilbert, who promises to visit her again.


Notes

Rebecca's plight is parallel to that of Rowena. She, too, is being courted by a man she dislikes, and is also determined to resist his advances. She threatens to commit suicide before submitted to an unwanted suitor. The difference is that Bois-Guilbert has no intention of marrying Rebecca, for she is a Jew, while de Bracy would give anything to marry Rowena. Ironically, both Rebecca and Rowena are attracted to Ivanhoe and are more concerned with his safety than their own escapes.

Urfried is an interesting comparison and contrast to both young women. Although she is now an old hag, she was once courted by a man she disliked. She, however, did not possess the determination of Rowena and Rebecca. She submitted to the man's abuses and has spent her life in shame and dishonor.

Scott repeatedly reminds his readers of the terrible and brutal nature of the Normans. Not only do they subjugate the helpless Saxons and Jews and take their land and money, but also use them in the most immoral ways possible. In these instances, they threaten and cajole the women who fortunately are both noble heroines that are capable of resistance.

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