Ivanhoe Chapter 31 Summary
This chapter opens with an epigraph from one of the most famous patriotic speeches in all of Shakespeare, as Henry V addresses his men before the siege of the French town of Harfleur in Act III, Scene 1 of Henry V. This play is relevant for many reasons: first, it's all about the English fighting the French (as usual). Second, it's got a lot of stuff about English breeding and courage, which Cedric of Rotherwood would applaud.
Now that Cedric is back among the Saxons, they are all doubly committed to rescuing the captives still inside Torquilstone.
Locksley volunteers to lead the archers.
The Black Knight will lead the main charge, with Cedric by his side.
When they take the outside wall (the "barbican"), the Black Knight sends Locksley to hold the battlements they have just taken.
The Black Knight addresses his men, telling them to use their true English hearts to stay brave during the invasion of the castle.
Locksley spots a red flag on top of one of the castle towers.
It's the signal that the Saxons have taken Torquilstone.
But the fighting continues.
Locksley keeps trying to shoot De Bracy with his arrows, but De Bracy will not surrender.
De Bracy does his best to chop down the central bridge of the castle, which would mean the death of Cedric as he fights on it.
The only thing that stops De Bracy is Bois-Guilbert, who comes to tell him that the castle is on fire.
They decide to capsize the floating bridge that the outlaws have been using to cross the moat.
To do this, De Bracy must open the secondary gate.
The Black Knight jumps at the chance to push his way deeper into the castle.
De Bracy faces down the Black Knight bravely, but eventually the Black Knight wins.
The Black Knight takes De Bracy prisoner.
At De Bracy's request, the Black Knight whispers his name in De Bracy's ear.
De Bracy suddenly becomes helpful.
He tells the Black Knight that Wilfred of Ivanhoe is inside the castle, and that he will burn to death if they don't rescue him.
De Bracy takes off his helmet and surrenders his sword to Locksley.
At the top of the tower, Ivanhoe tells Rebecca to run away and save herself from the fire.
Rebecca refuses to leave him behind.
Bois-Guilbert bursts in to save Rebecca.
Rebecca refuses: Bois-Guilbert should either rescue Ivanhoe or her father, Isaac.
Bois-Guilbert won't listen to her protests. He picks Rebecca up and carries her bodily from the room.
Ivanhoe shouts after Bois-Guilbert.
The Black Knight rushes in to grab Ivanhoe and carry him out of the castle.
The Black Knight then goes back in after the other prisoners.
Cedric finds Rowena's cell and sends her out of the castle with Gurth.
Then he goes back in for Athelstane.
When Wamba shouts that the main hall has been taken, Athelstane's guards panic and run away.
So Athelstane walks right out of his cell.
Athelstane sees that Bois-Guilbert is carrying a struggling woman out of the castle.
He grabs a nearby mace and runs at Bois-Guilbert.
But Bois-Guilbert hits Athelstane so hard with his sword that he cuts right through the man's mace and kills him.
Bois-Guilbert shouts for De Bracy.
De Bracy tells him that he's a willing prisoner, so Bois-Guilbert should not bother rescuing him.
De Bracy advises Bois-Guilbert to get out of England as soon as possible.
Bois-Guilbert rides off with honor.
Ulrica stands at the top of a burning turret.
She sings a final death song, in the tradition of the Vikings. Then the flames consume her and the castle falls into ruin.
Locksley announces that "the den of tyrants is no more!" (31.86)