Skip over navigation

Ivanhoe

Sir Walter Scott

Chapters 18-22

Chapters 13-17

Chapters 23-27

Summary

Though Cedric has been unable to bring himself to forgive Ivanhoe for leaving England to fight in the Crusades with Richard, he is nevertheless worried about his son's injury. He dispatches Oswald to check on him. Cedric, in turn, discovers Gurth, who has been serving Ivanhoe in disguise and takes him captive. But Gurth escapes and flees into the forest, telling Wamba to tell Cedric that he will never serve him again. The Saxons mount up and prepare to ride home from Ashby. In the forest, they meet Isaac and Rebecca, accompanying a very sick old man on a litter. Rebecca asks to travel with the Saxons for protection, and Rowena implores her guardian to agree. He does, and the group continues on its way.

Suddenly, de Bracy and his men, disguised as forest outlaws, fall upon the party. In the chaos that follows, Wamba escapes, but the rest of the Saxons, as well as Isaac and Rebecca, are taken prisoner. Stumbling through the forest, Wamba encounters Locksley, the real outlaw of the forest. But Locksley's band is honorable--they are the men who earlier declined to rob Gurth--and offer to help free the Saxons from de Bracy. Gurth blunders into the party and is recruited to help. Locksley takes them to the Friar's chapel, where they discover the Friar in the company of the Black Knight, still drinking and singing. Both the cleric and the knight enthusiastically agree to help rescue the prisoners.

De Bracy's men take the prisoner's to Torquilstone, the castle of Reginald Front-de-Boeuf. Isaac is thrown into a grim dungeon and given an ultimatum: either hand over a thousand pieces of silver to Front-de-Boeuf or undergo a painful torture. Isaac pleads for Rebecca to be allowed to travel to York to secure the money, but he is told ominously that Rebecca now belongs to the Templar, Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert. Front-de-Boeuf's Saracen slaves tear Isaac's garment and prepare him for the torture, but the sound of a bugle at the gates, followed by voices anxiously demanding Front-de-Bouef, brings the proceedings to a temporary halt.

Commentary

With these chapters, the novel shifts into the second of its three large stages. Structurally, the three stages of Ivanhoe revolve around a particular adventure or quest: The first involves the tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouche, the second involves the captivity at Torquilstone, and the third involves Rebecca's trial at Templestowe, the stronghold of the Knights-Templars. The second stage of the novel begins suddenly, when the lustful de Bracy kidnaps the Saxon party and imprisons them at Torquilstone, a Saxon stronghold now held by the Norman Front-de-Boeuf. This literally has the effect of jolting the main social theme of the novel back into prominence, as the imprisonment involves a group of Saxons and Jews unjustly subjugated by a group of Normans--just as was the case in England as a whole.

The character of Cedric undergoes some interesting augmentation at the beginning of Chapter 18, when Scott describes his anxiety after Ivanhoe is wounded: This is the first sign we have that Cedric cares at all about his disinherited son. Cedric is an interesting character in Ivanhoe; a flawed, passionate man, he is desperate to restore the Saxons to power in England. A minor country franklin, but one of the most powerful Saxons in the land, he has pinned his hopes upon the marriage of Athelstane and Rowena, both of whom are of very high birth. His reason for disinheriting Ivanhoe stems directly from his prioritizing of the Saxon cause above all other things: Ivanhoe is loyal to King Richard, a Norman Plantagenet. Even though Cedric loves Ivanhoe (as we see in this chapter) and respects King Richard, he cannot abide by Norman rule, and he cannot abide by his son's acceptance of a Norman king.

More Help

Previous Next

Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!

Follow Us