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MonkeyNotes-Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
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Chapter 43

Rebecca's trial attracts a large crowd, including many of Robin Hood's men. Just as her situation seems hopeless, for no champion has offered to defend Rebecca, Ivanhoe rides into the arena. He challenges those who accuse the beautiful Jewess. Brian de Bois- Guilbert becomes an unwilling participant in the fight as a representative of the people who accuse Rebecca; Beaumanoir and the Knight Templars demand his obedience and loyalty. It is an exciting and hard-fought battle, but Bois-Guilbert is finally killed. Ivanhoe has saved Rebecca.


Notes

The death of de Bois-Guilbert is important to Scott's narrative for two reasons. First, Ivanhoe comes to center stage as a noble hero and as valiant knight. Up to this point, he has remained a sometimes peripheral character who has not clearly displayed his honor. In this scene he is shown to be worthy and chivalrous. Second, Bois-Guilbert is saved from public disgrace by his death in a fair fight. Even to a knight as dubious as he, public disgrace would have been the ultimate dishonor. As a character, he is also somewhat redeemed because of his love for Rebecca and his attempt, even to the end, to save her life.

The combat is described in wonderful detail with all of Scott's knowledge of chivalry coming to the forefront. He also successfully captures the tension and excitement of the crowd. Until the very end, the reader is kept guessing about Rebecca's fate. The dramatic finish reinforces the exciting mood of Scott's Ivanhoe.

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