Ivanhoe Study Guide

Ivanhoe Study Guide

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Ivanhoe is a romantic novel written by Walter Scott and telling us about the story of the descendant of one of the last Anglo-Saxon noble families under the Norman reign. The interest in medieval culture and ballads inspired Scott to vividly depicts tournaments, battles of honor, fair ladies who need to be rescued and other traditional topics of the knightly literature. Though, more pragmatic things as arranged political marriages, the discrimination of Jewish people and the hypocrisy of some knights who maintain a shiny facade in public, are also shown.

Wilfred of Ivanhoe is the son of the Saxon landlord, disowned and sent away for his forbidden love to Lady Rowena, a ward of his father Cedric, who he is intended to marry to Lord Athelstane, a possible future King.

Wilfred has no choice but to join the military and go to the Crusade with his King to earn fame and prove himself worthy of Rowena’s hand. But when he returns home, he immediately gets involved into complicated plots that include another powerful knight, Brian de Bois-Guilbert, as well as an incredibly rich Jewish moneylender and his beautiful and kind daughter Rebecca and Lord Athelstane himself, who has to literally raise from the dead to disrupt some evil plans.

Ivanhoe is a classical romantic novel that features every single traditional plot turn. Yet it reads as something fresh and beautiful due to the brilliant descriptions of both war and peaceful life and deep characters, that are not just symbols of virtues and vices, but possess their own unique traits as living people. We don’t have any doubts that everything will end well, but still hold our breath when the new plot event creates the tension again. Despite we have lots of medieval stories to read, this one is a classical one and totally worth reading, if you want to spend evening or two dreaming about the romantic times of Robin Hood and Richard the Lionheart.

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