Walter Scott was born in Scotland and since childhood, he was fond of the past of his fatherland, legends and folk legends about military exploits, cruel battles and the courage of warriors. Beginning to write every novel, the writer carefully and carefully studied historical documents, monuments, costumes, and customs, because he believed that the creation of a genuine historical work requires, above all, accuracy and truthfulness. It doesn’t matter how many historical novels were created, it seems that nobody succeeded in surpassing the founder of this genre. His best historical novel is 'Ivanhoe', created in 1820, the themes of which we will consider today. Walter Scott masterfully, with his inherent historicism and irony, brings the reader to the half-legendary times of Richard the Lion-hearted, knight tournaments, crusades, noble robbers and beautiful ladies. However, the novel “Ivanhoe” cannot be credited to the genre of the knightly novel, for the adventures of real and fictional heroes come to the fore, to which the author refers, rather indulgently and with irony, rather than enthusiastically. This book is about honor and dishonesty, about loyalty and betrayal, about pride and humility, about courage and cowardice, about love and sacrifice. The novel is not only rich in detailed and reliable descriptions of the Middle Ages, but also themes that remain relevant even in today's modern world. This is a novel of the medieval culture of Richard the Lion-hearted, King of England, and flows on its expenses. The author describes in detail the landscapes of that time: dense forests, villages and majestic castles. The narrative goes slowly, talking about the heroes of the novel, their clothes, manners of behavior, thoughts, and aspirations. Often the author goes into details in order to recreate the most complete picture of what is happening and the atmosphere of that time. Everyone who loves stories about castles, secret plots, duels, tournaments, passionate love is recommended to read necessarily.
Patriotism Theme and Quotes
The author reveals the actual historical situation that developed in England more than a hundred years after Wilhelm the conqueror. The King languishes in Austrian captivity, the Norman noblemen, led by the King's brother Prince John, oppress the local family nobility - Franklin and oppress the people, who are waiting for the return of the king, because he alone can put an end to the excesses of the Normans and rally the English nation around him. Returning from the crusades has a firm intention: to return his inheritance and defend the love of Lady Rowena. Events develop in such a way that he has to prove his devotion and become a participant in the struggle between the captured King and his Norman brother John. The author raised the theme of patriotism in such a way that the reader could see the destructive power of patriotism. Patriotism is almost one of the instinctual feelings of a person. The presence of this quality in a man is inherent from the very beginning of existence. We are used to such patriotism, which attracts love to the country and good intentions. However, what is the point in Saxon and Norman patriotism, if the only thing that it causes is fatal battles with each other. “The royal policy had long been to weaken, by every means, legal or illegal, the strength of a part of the population which was justly considered as nourishing the most inveterate antipathy to their victor.”
The creator of this novel will forever remain a writer who became the discoverer of the genre of the historical novel. The author's works differ from the usual epochs in that they do not contain descriptions of everyday life or social mores, but represent the character in different periods of life. The basis of the artistic method was romanticism. The writer constantly repeated that the artist cannot confine himself only to the facts of history; he must combine the truth with fiction, a fantasy whose purpose is to excite and captivate the reader, to compel him to empathize with the heroes of the novel. This novel faithfully depicts the period of the reign of Richard the First, nicknamed the Lion-hearted, but the portraits of crowned persons are transformed to create majestic ideals. In the preface to 'Ivanhoe,' the author explains that he was visited by inspiration when thinking about the combination of modern images and centuries-old traditions and customs for the creation of this novel.
Foreignness and “The Other”: The Racism Theme
Despite the fact that many years have passed since the times described in the novel, the problem of dividing people into one's own and others are unfortunately remained relevant in our time. In this novel, there are not only heroes who are divided into good or evil disposition, but also those who are considered not like everyone else. Here there is a theme of racism. It should be noted that during the time of King Richard in England, Jews were very disliked. They were treated with contempt, as to people of the second grade. Even the Muslims they fought with were treated much better. For example, such heroes are Rebecca and Isaac. They are considered not so because they are Jews. The author wanted to show how people of that time were prejudiced against Jews and without any logical reason. Moreover, Isaak is so used to not trust others, that every time he is asked doubts about the intentions of others. Unfortunately, in most cases, his doubts are not in vain. This author wanted to show how hatred because of nationality affects people's lives and leads 'victims' to submissive defeat.
Culture Clash Themes
In the novel, the King acts as an expression of the interests not only of feudal Barons-Normans, but also of the indigenous population of England-the Saxons, and most importantly of the people. However, the lack of this hero gave rise to a struggle for power between the Normans and the Saxons. During this period, there was a war between the Anglo-Saxons and the Norman feudal lords, a struggle was underway to reform the electoral system, the simple people's hatred of the feudal lords was evident. The above contradictions are in fact of a social nature. The novel has a tendency: we see how the people are bursting from all sides. Such figures as Ivanhoe, King help us not to forget the honest and just actions of knights who care about people's lives. The writer focuses not so much on the very dislike of these two political camps, as on class contradictions, and the contradictions between the enslaved serf peasantry and the feudal lords of both Anglo-Saxon and Norman origin.
Identity Themes and Quotes
“His countenance was as pale as death, and marked in one or two places with streaks of blood.” The reader will encounter the fact that most characters hide their identity often for the benefit of their security. In order to gather allies, the king is forced to hide his identity. The role of Ivanhoe as the protagonist of the novel is not to participate in battles and intrigues, but that he is the son of Franklin Cedric and the knight of Richard - is the bearer of the idea of ??the unity of the country. Brian de Bois-Guilbert possesses qualities that are inherent in a large number of people and are quite relevant: arrogance, greed, greed, deceit, hypocrisy, and many other features that create a significant figure of the plot. Because of the attitude towards the Jews, Isaac zealously pretends to be poor not only in order to save his wealth, but also to survive. Rebecca is the personification of cultural and religious identity. It cures not only Jews but also all who need help. However, for her knowledge of medicine, they fear her and call her witch. Moreover, Christians who turned to her for help, feel renounced from the Christian faith.
Society and Class Themes and Quotes
'Pride and jealousy there was in his eye, for his life had been spent in asserting rights which were constantly liable to invasion” Despite the fact that there are constant conflicts of classes in the novel, there are no less of them inside each class group. In addition to cultural identity, many heroes rule money and a thirst for power over other people. The writer develops history in such a way that the society has passed through periods of rigidity and smoothly passed into a more stable and calm moral state. These stiff periods represent a struggle between the invaders and the people who captured. Thus, the author achieved a gradual pacification during the war, which gradually makes the society more perfect. As a result, each next stage in the development of the novel, reconciles the warring, makes society more perfect. It is no accident that the novel ends with the wedding of Ivanhoe and Rowena, and the noble Normans and Saxons present at the marriage understand that they could have achieved much more by acting peacefully than in the war.
Duty Theme and Quotes
“I doubt if ever he were even half so honest a man as many a thief of my acquaintance.” “And I must lie here like a bedridden monk” Being a human is hard, but being a knight is even harder. This title, high and honorable, obliges the knight to certain requirements. And this means that it is distinguished from others by humanity, dignity, courage, strength of spirit. But is this difference really present? In any situation, Ivanhoe acts according to a feeling such as a sense of duty. He keeps his beloved faithful. He never changes the knightly notions of honor. Despite his injuries, he followed Richard in order to help him. For him, the most terrible crime was a deviation or betrayal of duty and honor. However, before it became a contradiction to give the duty to the king by stepping through a sense of duty towards his father. Despite the fact that the deviation from a sense of duty is a terrible act, the reality of this greatly varies with the ideal.
Justice and Judgment Themes and Quotes
“For he that does good, having the unlimited power to do evil, deserves praise not only for the good which he performs, but for the evil which he forbears.” Ivanhoe serves as a judge when he decides who is the most beautiful girl in the tournament. However, his decision is biased and not fair, since he chooses the girl she has loved since childhood. Lucas de Beaumanoir mastered the sense of power. He is driven by Rebecca's conviction for witchcraft despite the fact that this is not true. “Bestow not on me, Sir Knight” “She who could prefer death to dishonor must have a proud and powerful soul!” He has no objective judgment and this does not make him a fair judge. He decided that she was guilty and did not want to hear anything else and did not want to see anything else. The girl saved an unexpected blow to the battlefield from the death penalty. Robin Hood owns his own illegal royalty in the Sherwood forest and he is the leader of all thieves. Robin Hood takes the role of judge, deciding who is right and who is to blame. Despite all his prejudices and the fact that he acts outside the law, he has the most adequate sense of justice, which cannot be said about the other characters.