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by Sir Walter Scott

Ivanhoe Foreignness and 'The Other' Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #10

[Rebecca] withdrew her veil, and looked on them with a countenance in which bashfulness contended with dignity. Her exceeding beauty excited a murmur of surprise, and the younger knights told each other with their eyes, in silent correspondence, that Brian's best apology was in the power of her real charms, rather than of her imaginary witchcraft. (37.32)

Rebecca's gender plays a big role in this biased trial. Beaumanoir distrusts Rebecca because she’s a beautiful woman, and he thinks sex is sinful. But everyone else in the courtroom is impressed by her beauty. Some of the younger Knights Templar even sympathize with Bois-Guilbert for breaking his vows over such a lovely woman. They can see that the only "witchcraft" at work here is Rebecca’s beauty. Both responses – suspicion and attraction – set Rebecca apart from the people in the courtroom. It's not just her religion that’s foreign to the peasants and knights; it’s also her beauty. Rebecca's foreignness makes her vulnerable to misrepresentation and mistreatment by people who don't understand her.

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