Ivanhoe Themes & Symbolism

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While the political system of feudalism surrounds the action and informs much of it, the essential "message" of the novel could be interpreted as largely an indictment of that way of life. Possibly the most significant example of this criticism is the matter of the actions of King Richard (who has been often lauded as one of England's most heroic and popular kings), which come under severe aspersion. Even Ivanhoe, who is no model of cautious, prudent behavior, stands shocked by the actions of his king: "Your kingdom is threatened with dissolution and civil war—your subjects menaced with every species of evil—why, oh why, noble Prince, will you thus vex the hearts of your faithful servants, and expose your life by lonely journeys and rash adventures."

In this critique of the king's rashness, one sees Scott's awareness of the perils of irresponsible behavior, especially...

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This section contains 468 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ivanhoe Study Guide
Copyrights
Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults
Ivanhoe from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.