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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #10

"Waldemar Fitzurse!" he said in astonishment; "what could urge one of thy rank and seeming worth to so foul an undertaking?"

"Richard," said the captive Knight, looking up to him, "thou knowest little of mankind, if thou knowest not to what ambition and revenge can lead every child of Adam."

"Revenge?" answered the Black Knight; "I never wronged thee – On me thou hast nought to revenge."

"My daughter, Richard, whose alliance thou didst scorn – was that no injury to a Norman, whose blood is noble as thine own?"

"Thy daughter?" replied the Black Knight; "a proper cause of enmity, and followed up to a bloody issue! (40.96-100)

Family relations influence almost all of the political decisions in this novel. Here Waldemar Fitzurse reveals that he decided to rebel against King Richard and join Prince John because Richard refused to marry Fitzurse's daughter. Similarly, Ivanhoe's loyalty to King Richard takes him to the Crusades, leading him to abandon his father's Saxon-only policies. This mix of the personal and the political makes sense in a world where just a few lords control all of the power of a kingdom. In this feudal system, one lord's hatred of another is enough to lead to war. There is also a historical precedent for this mixture of family life and politics: Kings Richard and John both led armed rebellions against their father, Henry II. The story goes that King John assassinated his nephew, Arthur of Brittany, to ensure his own position on the English throne. Talk about a dysfunctional family.

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