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MonkeyNotes-Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
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Chapters 13-15

The revelation that Ivanhoe is the disguised winner of the tournament causes a great commotion and some fear in the minds of the Norman nobles. A castle once belonging to Ivanhoe that John had given to Front-de-Bouef is now the object of much speculation, for many think that Ivanhoe will demand it back. Prince John himself is a bit worried about a confrontation until his advisor Fitzurse informs him that Ivanhoe is severely wounded and probably incapable of protest.

When Prince John receives a message that says, "Take heed to yourself, for the Devil is unchained," he turns pale. He guesses that the message means his brother Richard is free, and his own corrupt reign is nearing its end. At the same time, many of his supporters begin to falter in their support of him, and Fitzurse busies himself trying to rally them back to John.

The tournament ends with an archery contest, which introduces Robin of Locksley (Robin Hood). Locksley easily defeats Hubert. John is enraged at both Locksley's skill as an archer and his unswerving loyalty to Richard. Cedric also offends John in his surprising expression of support for Richard when he drinks to missing king's health.

Prince John has planned to marry Rowena to De Bracy, who is pleased with the idea. Now De Bracy is determined to force the marriage whether Richard has returned or not. He makes plans to ambush Cedric's party as they travel home from the tournament. He will take Rowena and make her his unwilling bride.


Notes

These chapters illustrate the dangers of being a monarch who has usurped his power. Prince John, who has come to rule through force, has tried hard to encourage the abductors to keep Richard in prison; he hates his brother and wants to insure that he will not return to again become kind. John, as Richard's self-appointed successor, has performed many unjust and cruel acts, such as seizing Saxon lands, celebrating his luxurious life in the face of the common people's suffering, and forcing women to give their hands in marriage. He is constantly afraid of the consequences of his immoral behavior and is petrified when he suspects his brother is on the verge of returning to England. If Richard returns and sees how John has connived and schemed against him and the people of England, the consequences will be dire.

These chapters also reveal the parasitic nature of Fitzurse. He and some of the other Norman knights associate with John only for the potential power they can gain from him. Fitzurse benefits from John's ruling status, and when support for John begins to wane, he tries to rally support for him with a level head. It is obvious that Fitzurse is smarter and more perceptive than John. He is also seen to be very creative as he tries to re-enlist John's supporters with all manner of persuasion and bribery. His support of John, however, is only an act of selfish self-preservation.

Robin of Locksley presents an excellent contrast to the often rude and gluttonous knights, both Saxon and Norman. He also provides a refreshing change of tone. At meals and celebrations, the knights can be very discourteous and ill-mannered, but Robin is always a truly noble character. He may be an outlaw, but his goal is always to help the less fortunate. He is also honorable in combat and loyal to King Richard. Although he is not called Robin Hood, the reader quickly recognizes him.

These chapters also foreshadow that changes are forthcoming in the kingdom. Prince John receives a message that indicates that his brother has escaped his abductors and will return to power. Cedric, in drinking to the health of Richard, symbolizes the slow but steady acceptance by the Saxons of their Norman rulers. It is beginning to seem inevitable that the Normans will continue to be in power. Cedric, along with many others, realizes that there are many kinds of rulers, just as there are many kinds of Normans. He begins to evaluate people by their individual differences and knows that Richard is a much better person than his corrupt brother. This early sign of a changing heart is crucial to the plot of the story.

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