Study Guide

Ivanhoe Chapter 14

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Chapter 14

  • Before this chapter we get the first six lines of Thomas Warton's 1787 poem "Ode XVIII to a New Year." Like all the other recent chapter epigraphs, this one is also a medieval-themed poem about knights and ladies gathering together. In this case, they are meeting up at a great hall. It's time for a feast.
  • Prince John holds his feast at the castle at Ashby.
  • (This is a real place that you can still visit in Leicestershire: Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle, dating from the 12th century.)
  • The real owner of the castle is in the Holy Land, so Prince John feels free to use it as though it's his own.
  • The prince doesn't want to offend the Anglo-Saxons because there are so many of them.
  • He plans to host Cedric and Athelstane in better style than they have ever seen before.
  • It's unfortunate that Prince John always offends people when he most wants to please them.
  • After the feast, talk turns to the tournament.
  • Prince John proposes a toast to Wilfred of Ivanhoe, the tournament winner.
  • Cedric starts going off on his disobedient son, who went off to the Crusades with Norman King Richard against the orders of his own father.
  • Prince John pounces on Cedric's anger at his son.
  • He turns to Reginald Front-de-Boeuf and says: Well, Front-de-Boeuf, why don't you keep Ivanhoe's castle and lands so poor Cedric doesn't have to see his ungrateful son in the neighborhood?
  • Front-de-Boeuf happily agrees: he wasn't going to give the castle back to a Saxon anyway.
  • This inspires a whole round of anti-Saxon jokes that really set Cedric's blood boiling.
  • Cedric accuses Prince John of being a poor host and points out that a Saxon won the tournament that day.
  • Prince John drinks a toast to Cedric, but Cedric is still riled.
  • Prince John asks Cedric to pick at least one worthy Norman for them to drink to.
  • Prince John's advisor, Waldemar Fitzurse, whispers to Cedric that he should choose Prince John.
  • But Cedric declares that he will drink to King Richard I, "the best and noblest of his race" (14.36).
  • Prince John is clearly not pleased at this toast, though he doesn't protest aloud.
  • Cedric and Athelstane leave.
  • Prince John notices that his other guests leave soon after the Saxons.
  • Prince John worries that the Normans see him as weak and that this confrontation at his own feast has led them to lose confidence in him.
  • De Bracy and Waldemar Fitzurse promise to convince the Normans to support Prince John.
  • Fitzurse worries that Prince John is losing hope in his own rebellion.

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