As the beautiful and delicate protagonist in Ivanhoe, Rowena is the ward of Cedric the Saxon and the lady-love of the heroic Wilfred of Ivanhoe. When she is captured along with her guardian's household, two Jews and a mysterious invalid, she hopes for Ivanhoe to rescue her, but will he be able to?
After being taken captive, she is imprisoned in a Norman lord's castle. The way even her captors treat her in contrast to the way her counterpart, Rebecca is treated is striking. Though only a Saxon woman in the power of Normans, her wealth and rank hold sway over their conduct toward her. They are respectful and treat her with a semblance of the way they would their own, whereas Rebecca is regarded as little more than a slave. Over the course of the book, however, she is shown to have a compassionate nature, even toward what was thought of as the dregs of society: the Jews.
It can be argued that she is much too frigid and perfect to make a satisfactory heroine and bride of the hero; even after she is kidnapped en masse with her guardian's household, the two refugee Jews and their patient, she remains (only figuratively), above the fray. I can not say what her deeper personality could have been, this facade that is discernible could possibly only be because Sir Walter Scott did not see fit to put her in circumstances that were as desperate as Rebecca's. Therefore, her personality remains what I, the reader chooses: the icy, pious angel or the rather quiet heroine, misinterpreted because of lack of personality.
The second installment to this two-part post--Rebecca-- is due out sometime by next week. Please check back.