by Sir Walter Scott
Ivanhoe Chapter 7 Summary
- The epigraph for Chapter 7 comes from John Dryden's poem "Palamon and Arcite." This poem is based on Geoffrey Chaucer's "Knight's Tale," one of the Canterbury Tales. In these particular lines, we get a description of knights coming together for a tournament.
- Here we get a fairly heavy historical background chapter.
- England is not in good shape in the late 12th century.
- King Richard I (also known as Richard the Lionhearted or Richard Coeur-de-Lion) is being held for ransom by Leopold V, Duke of Austria.
- In his absence, Richard's younger brother Prince John has allied with Philip II, King of France.
- Prince John is trying to keep Richard I out of England for as long as he can.
- He wants to build up his support in the kingdom so that he can eventually steal the throne from his brother.
- Prince John doesn't bother to keep the peace or hold proper trials.
- England is full of people recently returned from the Crusades, who have become used to violence and theft. This lawlessness is a real problem.
- But even though things aren't going well in England, the rich and poor alike all enjoy the spectacle of a tournament.
- Bois-Guilbert gets the best tent at the tournament, in honor of his reputation as a great knight.
- Next to him are Reginald Front-de-Boeuf and Philip de Malvoisin, as well as a bunch of other Norman knights.
- Outside this central space are crowds of people gathered to watch the tournament.
- There is a special platform with a throne for La Royne de las Beaulté et des Amours, the Queen of Beauty and Love. (Sounds to us kind of like a homecoming queen or beauty pageant winner.)
- Isaac is in the crowd, as is Prior Aymer.
- The Knights Templar and Hospitallers are both arranged around Prince John.
- Because Richard's crusade was unsuccessful in winning back Jerusalem from Saladin, the Muslim leader, these knights have abandoned him in favor of his younger brother.
- Prince John is also at the tournament, looking cheerful.
- A yeoman (which is a free man, as opposed to a peasant or a serf) insults Prince John by referring to William II, an unlucky Norman king who died from an arrow to the chest.
- This guy may not seem significant now, but keep an eye out – he returns later.
- Prince John spots a lovely woman, richly dressed: it's Isaac's daughter, Rebecca.
- He sees that she is Jewish and that her father is one of the Jews with whom he is currently negotiating for money.
- Prince John approaches Isaac to compliment Rebecca's beauty.
- John insists that the Saxons sitting in the gallery make way for Isaac and Rebecca.
- The Saxons, especially Cedric, seem put out to have to share space with two Jews.
- It looks like things are going to come to violence between the Saxons and the Normans.
- Wamba intervenes by jumping in front of Isaac and showing him a piece of boar meat he had been saving for the tournament.
- Seeing this pork product (which is unclean according to Jewish law), Isaac jumps back and falls down the stairs.
- The Saxons and the Normans both laugh cruelly at him, which lowers the Saxon/Norman tension. (They've become temporarily united in their bullying and shared sense of superiority.)
- Prince John demands a handful of coins from Isaac, then just steals his whole purse.
- Prince John leaves Isaac behind to be mocked by everyone around him.
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