Study Guide

Ivanhoe Chapter 40

By Sir Walter Scott

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Chapter 40

  • This chapter's epigraph is from Colley Cibber's 1699 adaptation of Shakespeare's play Richard III (who lived about 200 years after the King Richard in Ivanhoe). The line in the original play goes, "Conscience avant; Richard's himself again" (line 2085). "Avant" (or "Avaunt") means "go away," so Richard III is saying, "Go away, conscience, I'm feeling more like myself again" (i.e., like a criminal). Instead of the "conscience" in the original quote, Scott uses "shadows." In other words, the shadows around King Richard's identity are clearing. We're about to find out who Richard really is.
  • The Black Knight leaves the forest and heads to a local monastery where Ivanhoe is healing.
  • The Black Knight plans to bring Ivanhoe and Cedric together at Athelstane's old home.
  • Wamba will act as the Black Knight's guide.
  • The Black Knight and Wamba head off into the forest.
  • Ivanhoe asks to see the Prior, the head of this monastery.
  • Ivanhoe feels much better and thinks he is ready to leave.
  • The Prior thinks he should recover a bit more.
  • Ivanhoe has a bad feeling and wants to head straight to York.
  • He sets off right away with Gurth.
  • In the forest, the Black Knight rides with Wamba.
  • Wamba can't keep silent for long, so he bursts into a couple of funny songs.
  • The Black Knight joins him in a duet.
  • Wamba then starts joking about the thieving nature of Locksley and his men.
  • The Black Knight points out that they have helped Cedric at least.
  • Wamba thinks the outlaws are looking for balance: they do good things to make up for all of the robberies they commit.
  • Wamba also "borrows" the horn the outlaws gave to the Black Knight and then refuses to give it back for a while.
  • Wamba spots something suspicious in the forest.
  • Sure enough, six or seven armed men are waiting to ambush them.
  • One of the men fatally injures the Black Knight's horse.
  • Wamba blows the outlaws' horn.
  • A band of the outlaws, led by Locksley and the Friar, arrive to help.
  • The would-be assassins are soon defeated.
  • They pull back the visor of the head assassin: it's Waldemar Fitzurse!
  • Fitzurse says he has been hunting King Richard for revenge, because Richard refused to marry his daughter.
  • He admits that he has been sent by Prince John.
  • But Fitzurse adds that Prince John's rebellion is only to be expected, since Richard also rebelled against his own father, Henry II.
  • King Richard – surprise! That's who the Black Knight really is – sends Fitzurse into exile.
  • King Richard demands that Fitzurse stay in Normandy, and that he never say a word about Prince John's rebellion.
  • The outlaws all kneel in front of King Richard.
  • He pardons them for all their earlier crimes and asks that they work as good, law-abiding subjects of the king from now on.
  • Locksley also gives his real name: Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest.
  • King Richard is impressed to meet the King of Outlaws.
  • Now that the Friar (also known as Friar Tuck, for those of you who are familiar with the legends of Robin Hood's merry men) knows that the Black Knight is King Richard, he freaks out.
  • After all, the Friar provoked his king into a fistfight.
  • But King Richard says everything is fine – he's not going to hold any man's drunken behavior against him.
  • In fact, King Richard offers to let the Friar leave the church and become one of his attendants.
  • The Friar is honored, of course, but he really likes his current life.
  • He wants King Richard to leave him as he is.
  • King Richard agrees and also offers to give him an annual supply of ale and wine.
  • The Friar bows and steps back from the King.
  • Two more men appear in the clearing.

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