Study Guide

Ivanhoe Chapter 42

By Sir Walter Scott

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Chapter 42

  • We're back to Scott's "Old Play" for the epigraph of this chapter. The speaker of these lines describes a funeral ceremony.
  • King Richard and Ivanhoe enter Coningsburgh Castle.
  • At Athelstane's funeral there are about a dozen representatives of old Saxon families from the area.
  • When King Richard enters the room, Cedric recognizes him as the Black Knight.
  • Ivanhoe hides his identity from his father.
  • Cedric guides the two men into a chapel, where there is a woman dressed in black.
  • This is Edith, Athelstane's mother.
  • Cedric introduces Edith to "these [...] worthy strangers" (42.9).
  • He especially draws her attention to the Black Knight, as a noble defender of the Saxons.
  • Cedric guides his two guests to another room.
  • There are about twenty Saxon women there.
  • Rowena and three other girls are singing a hymn for Athelstane's soul.
  • Cedric then leads the two men to a room where they can stay for the night.
  • The Black Knight reminds Cedric that he owes him a favor.
  • Then the Black Knight reveals that he is King Richard I.
  • Cedric refuses to bow to a Norman.
  • King Richard promises that he is equally king of the Normans and the Saxons.
  • He is not the <em>rightful </em>King of England, Cedric answers.
  • King Richard asks if there are any other options Cedric has in mind.
  • Cedric is angry that King Richard is mocking him with Athelstane's death, since Athelstane was the last living Saxon royalty.
  • Cedric recognizes that King Richard will stay king no matter what he says.
  • King Richard calls in his favor. He wants Cedric to forgive his son.
  • Cedric then recognizes that his second guest is none other than Ivanhoe.
  • Ivanhoe throws himself at his father's feet.
  • Cedric agrees to forgive his son.
  • But he reminds Ivanhoe that Rowena has to stay in mourning for Athelstane for two years, according to Saxon custom.
  • Just then, out of nowhere, appears... Athelstane! He's alive!
  • He tells his story:
  • Athelstane was not killed by Bois-Guilbert, but only knocked unconscious.
  • He wakes up in an open coffin at the nearby Church of Saint Edmund's.
  • Instead of letting him go, the monks of the church keep Athelstane a prisoner.
  • Since Athelstane has no heir, the monks think <em>they </em>will be able to inherit his fortune.
  • Of course, they can't inherit if Athelstane is still alive, hence the forced imprisonment.
  • Athelstane sits for three days in the basement of the church, chained to the wall with only bread and water to drink.
  • When the monks leave their church to go to Athelstane's funeral, a drunk friar comes down the stairs.
  • He leaves behind some wine and meat for Athelstane, instead of the usual water and bread.
  • Cheered by this better food, Athelstane starts pulling at his chains, and eventually he breaks free.
  • Athelstane sneaks upstairs and finds two men drinking.
  • One of them is the outlaw Friar, who tries to hit Athelstane.
  • Athelstane knocks him out and steals a horse from the stables to make his escape.
  • Now Athelstane wants to kill the monks of the Church of Saint Edmund for revenge.
  • Cedric introduces Athelstane to King Richard.
  • Athelstane immediately swears loyalty to the King.
  • Athelstane's mother and Cedric are both angry that he won't try to get his rightful throne back.
  • But Athelstane wants no part in plots for the kingdom. That's what got him imprisoned by the monks in the first place.
  • All he wants is a comfortable life on his own lands.
  • (Oh, and he also wants to execute the leader of the monks at St. Edmund's.)
  • Athelstane tells Cedric that Rowena is in love with Ivanhoe.
  • When they all look around, they see that Ivanhoe has disappeared.
  • Apparently a Jewish man came by with a message for him. Ivanhoe put on his armor, took Gurth, and left the castle.
  • Rowena is so embarrassed by Athelstane revealing her feelings for Ivanhoe that she leaves the room.
  • King Richard, who finds out where Ivanhoe has gone, also takes off.

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