8.6.09

Rebecca and Rowena: Rebecca

When Rebecca is captured along with the household of Cedric the Saxon, an invalid and her father, Isaac, she withstands a harrowing experience in the castle of their captors. Because of her nationality and faith, her very life is often at risk

As a Jewess in medieval England, Rebecca is despised on account of her rank in society, not withstanding her extraordinary beauty. She is the loyal daughter to her father, Isaac of York, a moneylender. When troubles rear up about her, she proves that although she is a pariah, she possesses a laudable amount of mettle. After being captured with her father, the wounded Ivanhoe and the whole of Cedric's household, she is separated from her father. Only by entreating an old resident of their prison is she able to attend to Ivanhoe. While doing so, she begins to fall in love with him, knowing that there is no hope because by all accounts in medieval England, he is above her ethnicity; when Ivanhoe discovers that his healer is a Jewess, he treats her with coldness inherent to his breeding and the culture of his land. Throughout the book, she shows that she is kind, ready to help and has a very humble nature.


Many readers and critics regard Rebecca as more interesting than Rowena. Perhaps it is because Scott develops her role and personality in the story, making her seem warmer and more inviting than her counterpart Rowena, who comes off as cold and pious. To amend the rather discouraging finale to the story (when Rowena marries Ivanhoe) another Victorian author, William Makepeace Thackeray even wrote a sequel entitled Rebecca and Rowena, in which Ivanhoe is remarried to Rebecca. I suppose that that is one of the advantages of fiction; you can find a way to change it if you don't happen to like the outcome of the story!

6 comments:

Marian said...

Great posts! You summed it up well, and that's an interesting bit about the sequel. I like Rowena a lot myself; I tend to relate to quiet characters more. One of her strengths certainly seems to be in her staying true to Ivanhoe.

My favorite character in the book was the anonymous knight--kind of funny, when I found out who he is!

Nice blogs; I started reading them recently, and look forward to your posts. :)

Lucie said...

Thanks so much, Marian!

√čarwen said...

I went to the Wardrobe Door site looking for an 'images' section, but couldn't find any. ;)

ourspareoom said...

Hello Lucie!
I must agree, Rebecca does seem more interesting than Rowena. Although I always seemed to read more in to Rowena personally, so that she has more of a character in my head. But of course, Rebecca has all the more exciting elements. A foreigner, a Religious minority, the shunned of society, the most beautiful, the most love-lorn, and so on. Quite depressing, really.
:)
~Meg

Lucie said...

That's a good way of putting it! Depressing. Especially in the movie. :) But this was not about the movie.

Moriah said...

Sounds Good!