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Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott: Short Review

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In Ivanhoe there are many conflicts between men and in what way England should be ruled in, Norman or Saxon and with religion such as conflict between Jews and Christianity. The conflicts that some of the characters were faced with later affected them either in favorable ways towards the, or in harsh lessons that needed to be learned.

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Ivanhoe stood up for his beliefs against his father Cedric. Although that was honorable; his decision to go against his fathers’ ideas and beliefs could have cost him his life and his romance with Rowena. Cedric was dedicated to Saxon rule, so much that he disowned Ivanhoe because he believed in Norman rule. Ivanhoe believed that Norman rule in England should stay, whereas his father wished to have Saxon rule dominating England. Ivanhoe, who wanted to accept Norman Rule, was in sharp contrast to his father, who stubbornly clung to his hope for a new Saxon line to the throne. This difference of beliefs between Cedric and Ivanhoe caused an immense amount of animosity between them. The feud between the Normans and Saxons caused inhumane treating towards the Saxons from the Normans but more importantly the mistreating of Ivanhoe from Cedric. This animosity continued into their personal relationship and to the relationships affected by these two men. Ivanhoe loved Rowena but his father already had political plans to marry Rowena to a descendent of a long-dead Saxon king. Cedric hoped that the union would reawaken the Saxon royal line. Ivanhoe rooting for Norman rule made the fact that he wanted to marry Rowena even worse. Due to all these conflicts, Ivanhoe comes back to town disguised as the disinherited Knight and the Palmer. He joins the battle of Ashby and wins and crowns Rowena as queen of love and beauty.

On the day of the tournament of Ashby, a Jewish maiden named Rebecca tends to Ivanhoe after he gets wounded; while she is tending to him she falls in love with him. She knows from the start, that the love she feels for him goes against her good sense and values. She is Jewish and Ivanhoe is Christian so she is forced to restrain her feelings because of the religion difference and the ongoing disputes between the Jews and Christians that were going on at that time. Disputes such as, The Jews had the occupation of a moneylender because in the Catholic church it was unlawful to have such an occupation because of this the Jews could control the interest rates which caused obvious hostility between them. The conflict and attitude of the men involved in these religions causes Rebecca to not be able to express her love to Ivanhoe. On the other hand, Rebecca faces consequences of seeing Ivanhoe marry Rowena. Rebecca never told Ivanhoe she loved him and if she had maybe things would be different for her.

Isaac, a Jewish man get introduced in the book by asking Cedric if he could stay one night at his place. Since Isaac is Jewish it is hard for him to stay someplace without getting attacked. Cedric agrees but treats him very poorly. He doesn’t allow him any space even in the servant’s hall, and only because of Palmers help he got any food at all. Cedric shows great unkindness towards Isaac, and the Palmer decides to help Isaac to his destination to make sure he gets there safely. Isaac rewards the Palmer by loaning him a full suit of armor and a horse, now that the Palmer had proper equipment he signs up for the battle of Ashby. The palmer who ends up being Ivanhoe wins the battle. If Cedric would have been welcoming to Isaac then the Palmer wouldn’t have helped Isaac and wouldn’t have gotten the armor or horse. Cedric being unkind to Isaac helped Ivanhoe win the battle. As the story goes on, Cedrics hostility towards people is only hurting himself in the long run.

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