Ivanhoe Study questions

See the NA, Vol D, for biographical information about Scott - pgs 406-07. The last paragraph discusses Scott's authorship and explains the context for the Advertisement and Dedicatory Epistle

As you explore novel (Chpts 1-9) using these questions, find passages in the novel (and mark them) to support your ideas. Note:  These questions can used for the entire novel.

1.  Explore the oppositions between Saxon and Norman/Past and Present.  Consider the relationships between these two sets of oppositions.
2.  Discuss the following characters: Cedric/Athelstane
3.  Discuss the following characters: Prince John/The Templar (Brian de Bois-Guilbert)
4.  Explore the plot: Structure and the use of romance/chivalry|history/realism. (Don't focus on the tournament - chpts 8-9
5.  Discuss the following character: Isaac/Attitudes towards Jews in the novel.
6.  Focus on chtps 8-9: The Ashby Tournament.  What key ideas/concepts/oppositions are revealed? The characterization of the Disinherited Knight?
7.  Discuss the following characters: Gurth/Wamba

Your questions as we considered the end of the novel

1. In Ivanhoe, is there a difference between resolute and arrogant pride?  If so, what is the distinction?
In what characters/races/plot points is this contrast most apparent?

2. How many of the strong, beautiful, and courageous Saxons will have to lose their lives inorder to oust the Normans     from England?

3. By the end of the novel, has Cedric relented [in] his quest for a pure Saxon rule [and decided to accept a] future [with a] Saxon/Norman mix?  Explain.

4. In the novel, is revenge self-destroying? [Is it worth pursuing or justified?]  Use Ulrica's revenge of Front-de-Boeuf and the Saxon's revenge on the Normans as examples.

5.  In the final pages of the novel, Rebecca says, "I may not change the faith of my fathers like a garment unsuited to the climate in which I seek to dwell, and unhappy, lady, I will not be" (400).   Keeping the disguises of King Richard, Ivanhoe, and the Hermit/Friar in mind, what does this statement say about the nature of disguise and the reasoning for it?  Is this negative commentary on the romanticized notion of disguise?

6. How is religion portrayed in the novel?  What is Scott trying to say about religion during medieval times? Do you think that criticism was also relevant in Scott's society in the early 1800s?

7. Why was the novel titled Ivanhoe when he had so little "stage time"?  Was he the main character? Is there a main character? Why or why not?

8. We had discussed in class how Athelstane possessed all the typical qulaities of the Saxon race and represented its overall stagnance.  Keeping tht in mind, do you think Scott intended his "revival" after his supposed death to be symbolic in some way?  Why or why not?

9. Rebecca is a Jew.  What makes her an important character throughout the novel?

10. Unwritten rules of chivalry and honor are frequent in the novel.  Who give the most of themselves? Who pays the greatest price for their cause? Explain.

11. Why do you think Scott has a narrator instead of talking from one person's view, [like Ivanhoe's]? The book is named after him afterall.


Themes we've discussed in class.  The critical introduction to our Penguin edition touches on many, if not all, of these.
What would you add to this list?