Study Guide

Ivanhoe Chapter 11

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Chapter 11

  • This chapter's opening poetry passage is from Act IV of Shakespeare's play Two Gentlemen of Verona. In this dialogue, the main character Valentine encounters a band of outlaws on the road. Foreshadowing!
  • As Gurth walks away from Ashby, he starts to worry about thieves in the countryside.
  • After all, he is carrying a lot of cash.
  • He's right to worry: outlaws stop him along the road and drag him into the forest to rob him of his money.
  • Gurth confirms that he has 30 zecchins of his own – the rest is his master's.
  • The outlaw captain asks who his master is.
  • Gurth answers that he serves the Disinherited Knight. He refuses to say anything more of his master's identity or his own.
  • The thieves are amazed that Gurth walked away from Isaac with more money than he had when he arrived.
  • They are also amazed that the Disinherited Knight has refused any ransom from Bois-Guilbert.
  • The captain of the thieves is so impressed by Gurth's story and by the Disinherited Knight's tournament performance that he wants to let Gurth pass without taking any of his money.
  • But one of the other thieves is not willing just to let Gurth go, regardless of how pro-Saxon his captain may be.
  • So the captain proposes that this thief (who is a miller by trade, someone who grinds grain) and Gurth fight it out with long wooden staffs. If Gurth wins, he is free to go.
  • Gurth and the miller fight with their staffs until Gurth knocks the miller out with a blow to his head.
  • The other thieves shout, "fair play and Old England forever! The Saxon has saved both his purse and his hide, and the Miller has met his match" (11.52).
  • The captain sends two of his outlaws to guide Gurth back to the tournament grounds.
  • At the edge of the forest, Gurth's two guides warn him not to tell anyone what he has seen in the forest that night.
  • Despite this warning, Gurth tells the Disinherited Knight everything, including the bit with the outlaws.
  • While the Disinherited Knight is impressed with Rebecca's generosity, he vows to repay her the money she has given him.

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