Ivanhoe Notes & Analysis
The free Ivanhoe notes include comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. These free notes consist of about 81 pages (24,021 words) and contain the following sections:
Ivanhoe Plot Summary
Ivanhoe takes place about a hundred years after the Battle of Hastings, which gave the Normans rule over the Saxons in England. The brave and respected King Richard of England became prisoner while fighting the Crusades abroad. In his absence, the nobles made their weaker neighbors tenants, and Richard's brother John oversaw it all in his attempt to take the throne.
The Saxon noble Cedric, the father of Ivanhoe, is a strong supporter of Saxon heritage and rights. He threw out his son when he fell in love with Cedric's ward, the Lady Rowena. Cedric hoped to marry her to Athelstane, thus forming a powerful Saxon alliance. Ivanhoe goes to fight with King Richard, and is next seen as the masked victor at a tournament. He is wounded during the tournament, but the Jewess Rebecca and her father Isaac take him in. Rebecca is a practicing healer, and she takes good care of him. She also falls in love with him, but resists her urges.
Among Prince John's men are Maurice De Bracy, Front-de-Boeuf, and Brian de Bois-Guilbert. De Bracy likes Lady Rowena, so he and his men take her and her family prisoner. Bois-Guilbert likes Rebecca, and so he aids De Bracy in this evil endeavor. They take the women, their families, and the wounded Ivanhoe to Front-de-Boeuf's castle.
King Richard also makes an appearance at the tournament, dressed in disguise. He meets up with Friar Tuck and Robin Hood's men, and he aids them in their plan to take the castle and free the prisoners. They win the castle, which an old enemy of Front-de-Boeuf's burns to the ground. Front-de-Boeuf dies, De Bracy is taken prisoner, and Bois-Guilbert escapes with Rebecca. During a scuffle over Rebecca (whom he mistakes for Rowena), Athelstane is killed.
Bois-Guilbert is a member of the religious order of Templars, and he takes Rebecca to their headquarters. Unfortunately, the group's Grand Master returns, and is very angry about the Templar's sinful behavior. He accuses Rebecca of sorcery, and sentences her to death. Her only hope is that a knight will challenge the Templars and Bois-Guilbert, who has agreed to testify and fight opposite her cause. Rebecca gets a message out to Ivanhoe, who is attending Athelstane's funeral. King Richard patches things up with Ivanhoe and his father Cedric, and just after Cedric agrees Ivanhoe and Rowena may marry, Athelstane appears. He was not dead, but nearly buried alive by priests greedy for the funeral money. Fortunately for Ivanhoe, Athelstane does not fight for Rowena; he wishes the couple nothing but the best. Shortly after, Ivanhoe leaves to save Rebecca.
At the Templars' headquarters, Ivanhoe fights Bois-Guilbert. The Templar dies, not from battle, but from his own wild passions. Rebecca is free, and Ivanhoe and Rowena marry. Rebecca expresses her gratitude to the happy Lady Ivanhoe before leaving with her father for Grenada. Ivanhoe lives a happy life with his wife, and goes on to do more of the King's work. Richard arrests many of Prince John's men, and has some put to death. He does nothing to his brother, who eventually comes into power when King Richard dies in battle.