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by Sir Walter Scott

Ivanhoe Justice and Judgment Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

"We shall meet again, I trust," said the Templar, casting a resentful glance at his antagonist; "and where there are none to separate us."

"If we do not," said the Disinherited Knight, "the fault shall not be mine. On foot or horseback, with spear or with sword, I am alike ready to encounter thee." (8.50-51)

Obviously there is a lot of bad blood between Bois-Guilbert and Ivanhoe (disguised here as the Disinherited Knight). They clearly hate each other, what with Ivanhoe swearing to fight Bois-Guilbert whenever and wherever he can. There are also hints early on in the novel that this struggle may go back to their time during the Crusades in Palestine (although they would both have presumably been on the same side). Even if we leave out the Crusades, there's the matter of Bois-Guilbert's support for Prince John and Ivanhoe's loyalty to King Richard, as well as the usual Norman-vs.-Saxon tensions. What do you think is the cause of the struggle between Bois-Guilbert and Ivanhoe? Is either knight justified in his hatred of the other?

Quote #2

"Well and yeomanly done!" shouted the robbers; "fair play and Old England for ever! The Saxon hath saved both his purse and his hide, and the Miller has met his match."

"Thou mayst go thy ways, my friend," said the Captain, addressing Gurth, in special confirmation of the general voice, "and I will cause two of my comrades to guide thee by the best way to thy master's pavilion, and to guard thee from night-walkers that might have less tender consciences than ours; for there is many one of them upon the amble in such a night as this." (11.52-53)

After Gurth defeats the outlaw miller in the forest, the thieves cheer his strength and let him go with all his money. This showdown foreshadows the much more serious and formal trial by combat between Bois-Guilbert and Ivanhoe at the end of the novel. It seems that no matter whether you're a thief or a knight, the laws of honor and dueling still apply. What do you make of the fact that the outlaws all shout "Old England!" as a cheer? Where do they fit in this whole Saxon/Norman struggle? Why does Scott even include this outlaw subplot? What do these guys add to the overall story and its tone?

Quote #3

"Are ye afraid of his power?" continued [Waldemar Fitzurse,] the artful confident of that Prince, "we acknowledge him a strong and valiant knight; but these are not the days of King Arthur, when a champion could encounter an army. If Richard indeed comes back, it must be alone, – unfollowed --unfriended. The bones of his gallant army have whitened the sands of Palestine. The few of his followers who have returned have straggled hither like this Wilfred of Ivanhoe, beggared and broken men. – And what talk ye of Richard's right of birth?" he proceeded, in answer to those who objected scruples on that head. "Is Richard's title of primogeniture more decidedly certain than that of Duke Robert of Normandy, the Conqueror's eldest son? And yet William the Red, and Henry, his second and third brothers, were successively preferred to him by the voice of the nation, Robert had every merit which can be pleaded for Richard; he was a bold knight, a good leader, generous to his friends and to the church, and, to crown the whole, a crusader and a conqueror of the Holy Sepulchre; and yet he died a blind and miserable prisoner in the Castle of Cardiff, because he opposed himself to the will of the people, who chose that he should not rule over them. It is our right," he said, "to choose from the blood royal the prince who is best qualified to hold the supreme power – that is," said he, correcting himself, "him whose election will best promote the interests of the nobility." (15.2)

Waldemar Fitzurse's belief that kings should be chosen by human authority is pretty out there from a medieval point of view. He's saying that the idea that kings become kings because they've been selected by God is a bunch of hooey. And so is primogeniture – the policy by which the oldest son inherits the lands and titles of his father. Fitzurse points out that there are plenty of historical examples of second or third sons in the royal line (men like Prince John) taking the throne instead of their elder brothers. He also says that maybe kings should be elected by the nobility. It's not until the 17th century (five hundred years after Ivanhoe takes place) that England's Parliament (the British version of the Congress) actually seizes the power to appoint kings and queens to the throne.

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